Every week I talk to current or prospective job seekers and when I inquire about their marketing plan for their search I inevitably hear “What’s that?” “I don’t need one,” or “I don’t have time for that.” Which means that what they are really saying is:
- I don’t know enough about today’s job search techniques to know what I don’t know.
- I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants. That’s a great idea, right?
- I don’t have time to be successful in my search.
Perhaps when job seekers hear the words “marketing plan” they’re thinking of a complex, long-drawn-out process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. My job search marketing plan course, for example, guides participants through a simple process that can easily be completed in a few hours or over the course of 1 to 2 weeks with 1 to 2 hours invested each week.
But why bother, I hear you asking? Four reasons you need a job search marketing plan before you launch your job-hunt:
- Define How to Position Your Brand: How do you know how to distinguish yourself from your peers seeking the same kinds of roles if you don’t compare your brand to theirs and analyze what the market prefers? Launching a job search without a marketing plan means you cannot possibly know which elements of your brand are most relevant and important to prospective employers – this lapse sets you up for interviews in which you stress the wrong attributes or fail to build success stories around the achievements that most interest your interviewers.
- Determine the Scope of Your Job-Hunt: Quite often I run across job seekers who haven’t yet decided which industries to pursue, which companies to target, or which specific geographic areas to focus on. Yet all of these factors need to be determined before you launch your search and preferably before you revamp your resume and career communications tools. All of these factors can and should influence the content, focus, and look of your portfolio, after all. Putting off determining the scope of your job search means your career communications portfolio will be missing critical data and positioning that could cost you interviews and job offers.
- Decide How You Will Job Search: Another key job search factor that needs to be decided prior to the launch of your search and the development of your resume and other tools is how you will search. Will you network? Target companies? Utilize job boards or recruiters? There are 6 major executive job search strategies – which 2 to 3 are best suited to your personality and your career situation? Which are most likely to help you land in the shortest amount of time possible? If you don’t make these determinations prior to launching your search, you will be placing the proverbial cart before the horse, which makes for an inefficient and unsuccessful job-hunt.
- Plan Your Weekly Job Search Structure: You know the old adage: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The opposite strategy, of course, is to plan to succeed. I strongly urge my clients to identify pockets of search time in their week and dedicate them to their job-hunt. Whether that means you set aside 30 minutes at lunch a couple of times a week or a few hours during the week or on weekends, I find that an effective search requires a minimum of 2-4 hours of time each week. To maximize your efficiency and build momentum (which is key to a fast search), you need to quickly choose and adhere to a regular schedule of search activities. This means pinning down when you look for work as well as which activities you will leverage to do so. The lack of a solid structure, timeline, and plan for your search guarantees you haphazard, stop-and-go results. Is that really want you want?
Job searching in the current era is much more networking-intensive that it used to be, by which I mean you will have to leverage the connecting aspects of LinkedIn more than you may realize or be prepared to do. This, in turn, requires that you stay on top of messages you need to send, networking queries you need to ask, ways to leverage your networks, and the sharing of your career communications portfolio in strategic ways in different phases of your search.
All of which means you need a marketing plan – a document that outlines the structure and focus of your search. It’s only purpose is to help you to conduct a more efficient search that actually gets you the results you want (and need).
What’s wrong with that idea?