As a job seeker, you need to develop an important set of new skills. Job search requires self-promotion! You must learn how to think like a marketer and learn the basics of selling!
Why? Because you are selling… you.
It is going to take a lot more to separate yourself from the other candidates looking for the same job you are. And because hiring managers need to be able to justify every expense and see a return on their investment.
Hiring a new employee is one of the greater risks employers take. Make it easy for your future hiring manager. Explain how they will benefit financially from hiring you.
Self-promotion skills pros have mastered: People with a background in sales understand basic sales principles and know how to build a sales funnel. They understand lead generation. Job seekers are sales professionals and should understand what the job duties are in their new role. Self-promotion is merely applying those principles to one’s self.
The responsibilities of a sales professional closely mirror those of a job seeker:
- Develop new and manage existing relationships
- Perform prospecting on the phone and in person
- Strategically manage online and offline brand promotion
- Increase contact volume and enhance awareness in the community
- Plan and implement a marketing strategy/campaign
- Write strong technical and marketing materials
- Monitor activities and performance
Just as sales professionals must identify the companies who need their product or service, you must identify companies who could use your services.
Sales professionals develop a large pipeline of potential customers, not just those who have an immediate need. Their prospective customer is anyone who could potentially use their product. The million-dollar question is: How?
They find new ways to identify customers. One way is by identifying similar products they may use. In your case, look at companies who already employ people who do what you do. Search LinkedIn for job titles and see which companies have your job. Or you could look at what companies are doing. Are they growing? Did they win a new contract? You can identify companies that will for the problem your services solve.
Once you have identified these targets, create a sales pitch for each individual company based on what they would gain by using your service.
As you know, you have a personal brand or personal reputation. Self-promotion means strategically managing this and promoting it within the community. Salesmen go to trade shows, industry events, and local events. Likewise, you should seek opportunities to attend and perhaps even speak at events in your area of expertise. Get out of the house! And don’t forget to build a reputation online.
Strong communication skills.
Every email, pitch, and proposal a salesperson sends and every conversation determines whether they will close the sale or not. Learn how to write and speak clearly and concisely. Write your message so that a prospective employer can see your value. In other words, explain the benefits of hiring you, not just your features (skills and abilities).
Have a strategy you can measure.
A self-promotion strategy is more than applying to every job that looks interesting. Purposely focus on companies and people who you know could use your services. We call this target marketing and it happens in advance of a job posting. Are you measuring these activities?
- How many people did you reach out to this week?
- How many jobs did you apply to?
- Did you have any interviews this week?
- How many hours did it take you to do all this?
Have you ever seen a sales professional’s weekly progress report? These are the kinds of metrics they are asked to track. You should, too.
The one attribute salespeople have, which will serve you well, is the ability to deal with rejection. It is part of their job, and you will experience it, too.
Salespeople realize that not every opportunity becomes a sale. As a job seeker, not every lead or every interview will translate into a job offer. Be prepared for this. Learn how to cope with the fact you may never know the real reason you weren’t selected for a job. Just keep moving forward, adapting your self-promotion strategies to favor those that are successful.