Sunday, April 25, 2010

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Your Marketing Materials

Are you ready to move forward with your job search? Let’s check.

Step 1 was Attitude. Attitude is the most important step.
If you have given yourself time to process the loss of the job and are looking forward to the next opportunity, then you are ready for the next important step to landing that job.

Step 2 is Aptitude: knowing what you offer a future employer and what makes you better than your competition.

Take the time to inventory (discover and document) your abilities, accomplishments, strengths, values, interests, education, personality, and technical skills. This information will be used to strengthen your resume and to add power to your interview answers. A side benefit is that it reminds YOU how valuable you are.

Step 3 is Altitude: who is hiring and where you want to work, i.e. your target companies.

If, and only if, you have completed Steps 1, 2, and 3 are you ready to create or update your marketing materials. If you have not completed the previous steps, updating your marketing materials and launching your search at this point will sabotage your job search efforts. If you have been in a job search and it has not been going well, revisit the first three steps and then revise your marketing materials.

Complete List of Marketing Materials

The resume is not the only piece of marketing material. In fact there are other pieces of marketing collateral that are just as important as the resume. It is important to have these and use them as they are intended. Let’s look at the entire list and then we will cover each one in detail.

Brand Statement
Elevator Pitch
Marketing Plan
Business / Networking Cards
Resume / CV
Cover Letter
Salary History
Accomplishment List
Social Network Sites especially Linked In

Brand Statement

Job seekers are taking a lesson from commercial marketing gurus and creating a brand statement that in a short phrase sets them apart from their competition. I’m sure many of you know which credit card uses the phrases “priceless”. Spend 10 minutes watching television or reading a magazine and you could compile a long list of these.

In the job market of yesterday, job seekers could show up and practically fall into a job. Today the job market is tougher and job seekers have to set themselves apart from their competition and a brand statement helps do that.

Since we are not high paid marketing gurus, it may take a while to come up with the right brand statement that in a few words conveys the right message: the value you bring, the type of challenge you want and excel at. The statement should not need explanation and should be objective, fact based, not subjective or boastful.

Draft up a few brand statements, bounce ideas off of job search professionals whose advice you value, and try them on a few occasions to see the reaction you get.

Although one IT manager was known for taking dysfunctional IT teams and increasing their productivity and quality, the phrase “troubled teams” sounds too much like “troubled teens” so the brand statement “Success at Turning Around Troubled Teams” was not so successful. Once the problem with the brand statement was identified, the problem was quickly fixed and new business cards ordered.

Your brand statement quickly identifies your passion and distinguishes you from you competition.

Elevator Pitch

There are many opinions on the elements of and uses for an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch gets its name from the very concise response that you give to someone in an elevator who says “I thought I knew everyone in this building but I have not seen you before. I’m Sam, What do you do?” You only have a few floors on a moving elevator to answer this question and solicit Sam’s assistance.

The other, slightly longer forms of what people call the elevator pitch have other uses such as introducing yourself at a table of other job seekers at a job networking meeting so they know what you are looking for – down to the list of target companies and previous companies you have worked for. That level of explanation is valuable in that situation. The briefer form of the elevator pitch is the base for which additional information can be added when solicited for further clarification.

Let’s start with the basic form.

The Core Elements to Include

After sharing your name, give the following elements of information in a concise manner:

1) Level of the position you are seeking. Examples of level include “entry level”, “mid level”, “senior level”, “C level” (as in CEO or CIO ), “certified”.

2) Position you seek. Examples combining the level and the position are: Senior Business Analyst, entry level financial analyst, certified project manager.

3) Industry

4) Location. State your preferred geographic area and whether or not you are open to relocation.

5) Closing Question. Indicate your interest in engaging in further conversation by asking a question, in the form of a question, soliciting their assistance.

Let’s put the elements together into a concise (notice the repetitive use of that term) example.

Hi, I’m Janice Smith, I am looking for a Senior Business Analyst position with a software company or a company with a large IT organization, preferable in the Metro Atlanta area but I am willing to relocate within the south east. Do you know anyone in software?

Additional Elements

If time and the interest of the other person allows, you can add the following elements:

a) Your brand statement
b) Target companies
c) Further explanation of the type of work you are pursuing

Do Not Get Historical

Sam asked what you did, not what you have done all your life. You will not only waste valuable elevator time if you start to give your life’s history, Sam will only hear Charley Brown’s teacher “wha wha wha wha wha wha” and start to regret asking the question. Unless you are specifically asked, do not say what you have done as that is backward looking and in this job search you are forward looking.

Your elevator pitch is the most portable element of your marketing materials and should be shared with everyone within three feet of you.

Next week we will detail other elements of your marketing materials.

Copyright: The 6 Steps of a Job Search are copyrighted by Crossroads Career Services.

No comments:

Post a Comment