Are you on a job hunt or looking to change careers?
I spend a lot of my time helping people figure out what they want in terms of career direction, which is a big first step that plenty of people get stuck on. But once you’re clear on your career direction how do you go about getting a relevant job.
(Just to be clear here, I’m talking about landing a job that you are actually energized by and have some intrinsic motivation for beyond just a paycheck. Though the paycheck is important too.)
The main thing to recognize about a job search is that it is a marketing campaign. And any marketing campaign deals with four main elements. I’ve included a few tips on how to improve your job search in each of these categories.
In a job search we are the product. We have certain experiences, knowledge, skills, and character.
Ways to improve– Gaining more education or experience can bolster your appeal. Seeking a volunteer or part-time work experience may give you a foot in the door to a new industry. One cautionary note on improving yourself- it’s easy to get stuck spending too much time here. It generally wouldn’t hurt to improve, but this can become a ‘safe’, comfortable place to stay to avoid putting ourselves out into the marketplace.
This is a compelling description of what is being sold. Our story consists of our cover letter, resume, appearance, communication, references, and interviewing ability. All of these items create a picture of who we are, ideally taken with the best possible lighting.
Ways to improve– After you’ve crafted your story as best you can send it for a test run with a few targeted applications instead of sending 100 applications all at once. By sending a few applications at a time you give yourself the opportunity to gauge the reaction, and then tweak your story for the next round of applications based on the results you get. If you’re not getting any responses to the story you are putting out be sure to get a second pair of eyes to look over what you’ve put together.
Our target market is people who work in our desired industry who are looking to hire. Market knowledge involves knowing who is in your market, what problems they are looking to solve by filling a position, and what they are looking for in a candidate.
Ways to improve– You’re interested in this field, right? Learn more information about current trends and challenges the industry is facing. Talk to people in the field. Ask them what’s going on, how they got to their position, and what steps they would recommend you take. Don’t get discouraged if in the process of talking to people you hear someone who is having a bad experience in your field. It’s just one person’s opinion.
These are ways for buyers (employers) to hear about what is being sold. In a job search responding to a job post, participating in an alumni group or industry association, seeking out informational interviews, connecting with your network, and writing or presenting on an industry related topic are all examples of marketing channels.
Ways to improve– Use every possible (legal) means to create every possible opportunity for yourself. Don’t stay limited to online applications.
Conducting a successful job search can be a lot of work. Which of these categories have you been putting most of your time toward? Which could you put a little more time into?