Whether you’re in high school, college, or a recent grad, this will apply to you at some point in your life. So listen up.
If you have ever taken a marketing class, you may recognize the 5 Ps, so this may not be a new concept to you. But applying this approach to your job search can give you a new outlook on how to present yourself in the job market.
1. Product: Whether you realize it or not, when you’re responsible for marketing yourself. So consider yourself as the product or service. What can you bring to the table? What can you offer the company? A product is something that fulfills a need, so think about it as you are applying to a position that a company needs filled.
2. Packaging: Now this one is probably my favorite. When you are walking down the grocery store aisle and stop to pick up a box of cereal, what do you do if the box is smashed or dented ? You put it back down and grab the nicer looking one behind it! THE SAME GOES FOR AN HOW YOU PRESENT YOURSELF TO A POSSIBLE EMPLOYER! Now yes, that means look nice and appropriately dressed at your interview but take it a step back. First impressions are crucial and the first point of contact that a future employer will have with you is your….?
I’ll give you a hint. R…Re…Res…YOUR RESUME!
To be fair, this also includes your cover letter and even your LinkedIn. Your cover letter should state why you are applying for this specific position to this particular company! This isn’t a mass text you send to your friends about the keg rager down the street, people! This is a personal and direct message to your possible employer as to why you applied and why they should consider you. This is all a part of your presentation, your “packaging”!
So take a look at your cover letter and resume. Is it a reflection of who you are as a person, as a possible candidate? I regret not taking advantage of this as an undergraduate student, so don’t make the same mistake I made. Meet with your adviser, go to resume building workshops, and career fairs. Trust me, they are not a waste of time!
3. Promotion: Once you’ve solidified your “packaging” you need to move forward and promote yourself, as a candidate and as a brand. In my opinion, the most important tool in promoting myself and ultimately landing a job was my LinkedIn profile. So, if you currently do not have a LinkedIn, create a profile immediately. It is a social media platform dedicated to professional networking and can be an incredible resource to finding internship and job positions.
Once you’ve created a profile, start to add relevant experiences and skills to your page. Make sure you don’t just state what you did during that position, but take the time to highlight what you were able to accomplish.
Try this, “Achieved a 97% customer satisfaction ranking as a customer service representative for Company X.”
Instead of, ” I worked in customer service and processed orders and returns.”
Showing quantifiable results and what you achieved as an employee or an intern speaks volumes about you as a candidate. Reach out to classmates, professors, previous employers, etc., to add as connections. Don’t be afraid to ask them for to recommend you, as well!!
Fill out your academic background and be sure to include some key core classes you may have taken, along with any awards, scholarships, leadership positions, and any clubs or groups you may participate in. The more relevant information you are able to provide, they more likely you will come up in searches for job candidates in your field.
4. Pricing: So you sent the resume, got the interview, and got offered the job! Congrats…but it’s not over just yet. It’s time to understand your pricing.
Personally, the most awkward question is, “What are your salary requirements?” I DON’T KNOW! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I WANT FOR LUNCH!
This seems to be a question that a lot of people tend to avoid, but obviously it’s very important. Do your research and know what the industry standards are when it comes to salary. Keep in mind that the location of the position also plays a factor in calculating your salary, so make sure you search for the industry standard based on the location. For example, an entry level position for advertising in New York City is different than in Denver. Be prepared for this question and be confident of your value!
5. Placement: Also known as distribution, the fifth P in marketing is all about your positioning.
Job hunting can be utterly frustrating. I felt like I was constantly sending resumes and cover letters out into the black hole of the Internet, never getting any replies. Occasionally, I would get rejection emails stating that a position had been filled and thanking me for considering the company. But let’s face it…for the most part, you may never hear back from a lot of these places.
What really changed the game for me was LinkedIn. Like I mentioned previously, it is crucial for anyone job searching. The Premium option even lets you see how you rank against other applicants for a specific position and places your resume at the top of the pile. My biggest concern was, “Is anyone even seeing my resume?” That’s the worst! So take the necessary steps to personalize details of your cover letter and resume, such as researching the name of the hiring manager. Ms. Michelle Smith sounds way more personal than “Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern” !!
Think about it…When I get a piece of mail that says, “Dear Resident” I don’t even bother reading the rest. That sender used a mass approach to generalize to a large audience. Personalizing and paying attention to details will go a long way! If there is a company that you are interested in interning or working for, look onto their company website, search their career page, and see what opportunities are open. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, there is no harm in sending in your application anyways. Place yourself in the best position to be seen. Don’t just rely on simple job postings.
So there you are my friends! Go forth and market yourselves.