Self-promotion and marketing is something that I am very familiar with as a result of my experience in the recruitment industry. Smart jobseekers understand the value of building up their brand and raising their profile, via the means I will explain in more detail below. It’s what attracts the attention of recruitment professionals like me.
You are the product
Angeline Chua, CFO of IBM Singapore, commented in a recent Hays Journal article that, “You need to self-market a little as you progress through your career. You are a product: if you don’t put the marketing in then people won’t see it”.
This is not to say that you are inanimate, only that both products and job seekers can benefit greatly from having an effective marketing strategy in place.
So, the first thing you need to do in your job hunt is to do your research and work out what your niche is and who your target audience is going to be. What are you good at and what could you improve on? What opportunities are available to you and what challenges might you encounter?
Getting yourself to market
Once you’ve established where you’re heading, it’s time to work out how you’re going to get there. This involves refining your product (you, the jobseeker) and also your promotion strategy (how you’re going to get the attention of employers and recruiters). For this, I’d like to make use of a popular marketing tool, the Four P’s (Product, Place, Price and Promotion).
Product – what’s your USP?
You are the product. Make sure that you’ve got all the necessary skills and that you understand your unique selling point. Refining your product means not just assessing and upgrading your skill-set but also refining your interview style and making sure that your social media profiles and your resume/CV (extensions of you, the product) are closely aligned and tailored to the skills and competencies you’re offering.
A good way to look at this is: What are the problems that you think your target employers may need solving, and how can you help them? Make sure your messaging is clear online and offline.
There are some quick wins you can gain from refreshing your resume/CV. Make sure that you always tailor it to the job that you are applying for and that you answer the job specifications advertised.
For further tips visit this simple guide to writing the perfect resume/CV. Your ultimate goal should be to answer yes truthfully to the question, ‘Are you a desirable product?’
Price – what are you worth?
What do you think you are worth and is this estimation reflective of your experience and ability? Understand how much you’re worth by using the Hays Salary Guide 2016.
You can use this to help you apply for the jobs that are most relevant and realistic to your expertise – miscalculating your potential salary can be a waste of your time, whilst it’s also good practice to keep up to date with market trends.
Place – where are you going to promote yourself?
In normal marketing terms, ‘place’ refers to the prime location for the product to be sold i.e. the middle shelf at a supermarket or on the front-page of Amazon.com.
You too can promote your skills and your experience on multiple platforms, including recruitment agency databases, job boards, professional social networks and in person (e.g. networking events). Are you visible across all relevant online and offline platforms? The easier you are to find, the larger your audience will be. Ask yourself do you want to risk not being found for that dream job?
Promotion – how are you going to promote yourself?
This is the most important element of your marketing mix. You might have all the credentials required to excel in your dream job but if you’re not getting your message out there then how do you expect to be hired?
Make sure your messaging across all online and offline platforms (those mentioned in ‘Place’) are aligned.
You need to work on your messaging and then put this into action across the various channels available to you; ‘Place’ deals with where you promote yourself, ‘Promotion’ concerns how you optimise these platforms.
Make sure your messaging across all online and offline platforms (those mentioned in ‘Place’) are aligned. You don’t want to be saying one thing on your LinkedIn profile and then something completely different on your CV. This is one of the more regular mistakes that I see in my job as recruitment professional.
There are a few common traps you need to avoid when shaping your messaging; not exaggerating your expertise is one of them. Create a plan of action which involves networking on LinkedIn and shouting about your expertise, keeping your social profiles fresh and relevant, updating your CV regularly and attending networking events where pertinent.
Bringing it all together
In order to secure your dream job you’re going to have to do more than just scatter a few emails and submit a few recycled applications. It’s no longer enough to stumble across job boards looking for openings; you need to be strategic and proactive in your job hunt. This means developing your own brand and doing your own marketing.
After all, the degree of success you achieve in your job search is largely dependent on how well you’re able to market and differentiate yourself from the competition.
About this author
Karen Young, Director at Senior Finance, Hays UK & Ireland.
Karen is responsible for the finance recruitment business at Hays, leading a team of over 400 finance recruiters across the UK.
With nearly 20 years of recruitment experience, Karen has a personal track record of recruiting top finance talent for business. She works closely with industry bodies including: CICM, CIMA, ICAEW, ACCA, IIA, AAT, ACT, ICAS, ICAEW, and the newly formed Accounts Payable Association, the APA.
Her knowledge covers finance appointments across a wide range of industry sectors, with personal expertise in senior appointments. Karen is extremely passionate about helping people to find the right jobs and has established a dedicated leadership forum to support the career development of senior finance, professional seminars to support the career progression of newly qualified accountants and another programme called the Future of Finance, which is aimed at university undergraduates and graduates.
Karen is a trusted industry voice and is regularly quoted in finance publications, including Accountancy, PQ, Treasury Today and Economia.