Monday, May 3, 2010

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 2)

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 Cards
Resume / CV
Cover Letter
Salary History
Accomplishment List
Social Network Sites especially Linked In

To read up on creating a brand statement and developing an elevator pitch, go to:

Marketing Plan

Have you looked at the face of family and friends as you hand them your resume and ask for their help getting that next job? It is probably a mixture of confusion and bewilderment as they think, “What am I suppose to do with this?” Your resume says what you have done, not what you are looking for, at least not in the level of detail your network needs in order to help you.

Other job seekers just tell their network contacts what they are looking for expecting their friends to remember it all with everything else they have going in their own lives.

Instead you want to give your contacts the key words to listen for, the target companies you’d love to network into, and the various titles of the position you are looking for.

To know more about this one page document, the marketing plan, that will help your network contacts help you, go to this link:

Business / Networking Cards

The most acceptable form for sharing contact information at events is the business card. The same is true at networking events when you are in a job search.

Office supply stores sell paper stock so you can print your own cards. A few words of caution: 1) do not use the stock that will leave a rough perforated edge. 2) Be very careful when printing that the card stock doesn’t feed through at a slight angle causing it to print askew. 3) Do not print and use a card that is too plain (ex. Lacking color). This is your marketing material; do not settle for anything less than professional looking cards.

There are on-line sites such as where you can choose from a select set of designs and get 250 cards for free (other than the price of shipping and handling which is between $5.45 and $25.19 depending on how fast you want your order).

Have a supply of your cards with you at all times.

At networking events, you want to have your business cards readily available to hand out. If you are right handed, put your business cards loose in your right hand pocket (not in a card case from which you have to pull them out of each time you need to get one). As you receive business cards from other people, put them in your left hand pocket. Do not mix the cards; you don’t want to waste valuable time routing through all of the cards to find one of yours to hand out. [Note: if you are left handed you can reverse these directions]. Jot a reminder on the back of the other person’s card with information on what you need to contact that person about.

Once you have a quiet moment, write on the back of all of the cards you received, the name of the event you met them at.

When you get home, follow-up on the promises you made (ex. the information you offered to send) and reach out and develop the contacts you made.

You can scan the cards or hand enter the information into Outlook or Excel , both of which provides easier look up and access to the information or you can keep a rolodex of the cards. A great little scanner that automatically feeds the information to Outlook is named NeatWorks. If you receive a lot of business cards through networking or through your line of work, this scanner is a time saver.

Designs: Choose a design that is professional and representative of your industry. A person in IT should not select butterflies. A graphic artist should not select a design that is too plain. If you are willing to pay for your cards (still a reasonable price), you can select from the other designs available.

Text: Of course you want to include on the card the primary contact information: 1) name, 2) phone number. On your marketing material, it is suggested you have the one primary phone number where you can be reached, which is usually the cell phone number 3) e-mail address. Your e-mail address should be professional and should include your name; it should not include a sports team’s name as the receiving party may be for the opponent team, it should not include the names of other family members, and it should not be “cute” (an e-mail address containing the cat’s name, Foxie, could send the wrong message). 4) You want to have the title of the job you are pursuing. 5) You can use the brand statement you created to differentiate yourself and you may also want to list a few other statements that help you stand out.

Have someone else review the text (spelling, grammar, the wording, etc.) before you print the cards.

Optional text:
Mailing address: On business cards companies include the mailing address. Job seekers fall into two camps: those who do not want their mailing address on the card and those who, like businesses, include them. I fall into the latter group and have never had an issue.

Linked In address: All job seekers should have a professional profile on Linked In. If your name is a common name, where more than one person has the same name, you may want to add the Linked In address so people can easily access the right profile.

Fax number: Although people still fax documents, it is not as common. You can save this space for other information and people can contact you to get that number if they need to fax something to you.

Web address: If you maintain a web site to illustrate your skills, the card should include the site’s web address.

What not to do:
Do not use all of the white space on your card. Doing so makes it hard to read and makes it hard for the other person to find a place to jot essential notes.

Do not put a miniature of your resume on the card. The purpose of the card is not to serve as the only form of contact.

Do not use a font size that is too small or a font type where the person cannot easily differentiate between characters such as one (1) and lower case L (l) and the letter O (o) and the number zero (0).

Do not use your former company’s business cards.

Do not mark out information on your card and write in corrected information.

Do not hand out your cards to any and every one walking by, as if you were handling out a flyer to an upcoming event. Cards should only be exchanged once a conversation has taken place and the parties agree to meet up or e-mail later.

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.

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