A client recently came to me frustrated. He had been applying for jobs for about a month and was not getting any traction/response. In the past he had never had a problem, and he couldn’t figure out what might be going wrong. From my experience, I know he is not alone in his thinking.
The modern-day job search is not like it used to be. Long gone are the days of applying for jobs online and getting calls for interviews. Depending who you ask, there’s only a 2 to 4 percent response rate for posted positions. Yet, so many people start their job search this way because that is what they know. Essentially, what they are doing is marketing without a plan.
When I first got introduced to direct mail 15-plus years ago, I was told, “Direct mail is like the salesman that lands in your mailbox.” Well, this scared the heck out of me, because I was coming from a graphic design job and knew nothing about sales. Yet, those words always resonate with me whenever I plan marketing campaigns. In job search, it’s really no different. Your LinkedIn profile, resume and cover letter are your sales team. And they are going to help your ideal employer find you.
So, you really need to run your job search like a marketing campaign. Let’s walk through the critical components of a campaign. Then I’ll show you how it translates to job search.
1. The Target = Your Ideal Company and Position
You would never go to market without knowing who your target audience is. So why would you launch a job search without knowing where you want to end up? Everyday I see people launch their job searches by updating their resumes and then blasting them everywhere. In reality, it pays to take the time to figure out where you want to be.
Just like you have buyer personas for your company’s products, you need a company persona for your job search. With your company persona in mind, it will be easier to write your career marketing materials. Answer questions like these when creating your company persona:
- What industry?
- What size company (staff and revenue)?
- Agency or Corporate?
- B-to-B or B-to-C?
- What type of culture are you looking for?
Once you have your company persona, start researching companies that fit your description. Find out what their pains are and how you can solve those pains.
If you want to go a step further, write out your ideal job description. It can serve as a guide when you’re wondering if you should apply for a posted position.
- What title do you want?
- Who do you want to report to?
- What type of projects do you want to work on?
- Do you want to manage or be an individual contributor?
Now, you truly have your target defined. Then instead of searching for a job, you’ll search for companies with specific challenges you know you can solve!