A job search seems to have many hurdles to overcome – resume, interview technique, appearance, and networking are challenges that job seekers face. These hurdles are surmountable with a strong job search plan and dedicated execution. Job seekers need to apply traditional advertising and marketing methods to their job search to achieve results. By thinking of themselves as the “product” and the employer as the “buyer” job seekers can approach their career transitions from a sales aspect.

Market Analysis

Most job seekers have no clear concept of their target market, the conditions of the market, and the types of employers whom would hire them. They need to conduct a market analysis similar to what most business owners have developed as part of a business plan. The business owner must conduct some sort of market analysis to determine to whom they are going to be selling their products or services, to create a profile of their target customer, to describe their competition, and to find out the conditions of the current market. Job seekers should go through the same process.

Job seekers should educate themselves on the conditions of the employment and economic markets in their targeted geographic area. Research companies in either the industry or area to create a profile that includes financial conditions, past activities, names of executives, products, services, financial forecasts, etc. for each potential company. By doing this, job seekers get a good picture of their target “buyer” – who they are, what they do, how much money they can spend, and if they are planning on being around for some years.

Scoping out the competition is also important for job seekers. The market is flooded with very qualified, highly experienced professionals who are offering “buyers” (employers) skills and knowledge that are all very similar. Job seekers need to find out what kind of competition they face – what they are offering employers, what salaries they are seeking, what benefits they are seeking, and what type of skills/experience combinations they are offering. One method, contact three target companies and ask what skills/experience the employees they’ve hired in the past six months possess. Talk with executive recruiters to find out what they see in the market and what they expect the conditions to be in the next six months.

Pricing (salary) is important in a market analysis. Salary levels can be researched through most recent job advertisements, Salary.com, major job boards, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the time of a buyers’ market, prices go down; therefore, salaries are also going down. Salaries have fallen from a high in 2000 to levels last seen in 1998 and are continuing to slide. Many job seekers price themselves out of the market because they don’t know the current value of their skills. Job seekers who find out what salaries to expect and market their skills with that salary in mind helping them receive better job search results.

Target Your Market - Be Specific

Location, buying power, motivation, industry – all are aspects of a target market. If the head elf gets downsized because it’s economical to contract out to Taiwan, Mr. Elf has limited career opportunities at the North Pole. Toys are made overseas and in the US, not at the North Pole. He can look for work making toys all he wants at the North Pole, if there are no toy making jobs, there are no toy making jobs. Location, location, location is a major feature in a job search.

Buying power, a company’s expression of financial ability to make purchases and hire talent, is conveyed through stock prices, annual reports, growth forecasts, quarterly reports, and company spending. A company in a steady growth mode can meet payroll, being less likely to have layoffs. Uncovering the buying power or financial status of target employers is critical to a fruitful job search. Many people have not taken the time to completed this research. Many job seekers just accept a position only to find themselves laid off again in a few short months.

Career Branding – Know Your USP

In the employment industry “career branding” is a hot term. Ok, career branding is intentionally developing and focusing on creating an impressive reputation in your career; then leveraging that reputation to advance and shape your career. Branding is a promise of a specific/consistent experience. When you see a Pepsi advertisement instantly you think of enjoying a cool and refreshing beverage. Over the years Pepsi has diligently worked to establish their brand. Job seekers can use this model in their career; develop marketable skills, record achievements, and create a respectable reputation within their industry.

Direct Marketing

When conducting a job search direct marketing is when your message directly reaches the buyer - getting your resume nonstop to the decision-maker. This is a difficult task for most job seekers. How do you recognize the decision-maker? One method job seekers have turned to are resume blasting services. These services send the job seekers resume to databases filled with recruiters, hiring managers, and other contacts in hiring positions. Like in traditional business the hiring manager may purchase mailing lists and job seekers can pay a resume blasting service to send their resumes to similar databases. Direct marketing has around a 1-2% response rate. Resume blasts are relatively inexpensive and tend to have comparable results, another tool to add to your job search plan.

To target specific industries, companies, or other specific parameters think through hiring a research company. For the serious job seeker with limited time or ability to conduct a serious data mining effort for contact information, this career search investment can pay off.

These companies can gather very specific information. Some being directly connected to decision-makers, with fees that are significantly higher than resume blasting services.

Print Advertising

Career print advertising contains a mix of: cover letter, resume, biography, portfolio, work or writing samples, and supporting relevant project details. Many job seekers believe a self-written cover letter and resume are fine, but most big companies rarely produce their own printed advertising in-house. As product and service providers they focus on what they do best – providing goods and services; while outsource their advertising to experts in the field. In recent years hiring professional resume writers and career coaches have grown in popularity, especially those job seekers intent on career success. These professionals are becoming popular because they assist career seekers in organizing, focusing, and streamlining the career search process leasing to a more effectively marketing their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Word of Mouth Advertising

Word of mouth advertising simply put is networking. When someone tells someone else why they like or the value of “buying” a “product”. Any business owner can tell you, word of mouth advertising is the most effective, longest-lasting and least expensive form of advertising. Unfortunately, many job seekers use this technique the least because it makes them uncomfortable and seems too difficult. Investing in a knowledgeable career coach can be invaluable; educating job seekers of proper networking etiquette and helping them manage their fears of talking to others regarding their careers.

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