JOB SEEKERS...MARKETING YOU!
I have a secret for job seekers, candidates and people who are looking for a better job. There are NO RULES! When you apply for a job, you are marketing yourself. Do. It. Right. Meaning, do what is going to get the best thing you could want…a phone call.
Your NUMBER ONE goal when applying for a job is to get them to call you and set up an interview. Getting the phone to ring is the hardest part, but I have proven it myself, that marketing yourself like a business works. And you can do it too. Now, the rest of the way…speaking on the phone, going on an interview, follow up, etc, etc…well, I am not a human resources person, so I am not going to dig into that. Not that I don’t have my ideas. I am always happy to talk about those things.
Your number one differentiator when applying for a job is the written word. Unless you are applying for a creative role, then it is still the written word, but it is also design and other tactics like video, your own website or sending a personalized fortune cookie! Now that I think about, a link to a video in your cover letter would be super cool for anyone. Just you speaking to them…selling…YOU! That’s another level of coaching for some people.
The one place you really have the opportunity to say what you need to say to get a call is in a cover letter. ALWAYS send a cover letter. Even if it’s not asked of you or required, always, Always, ALWAYS include it.
Here is where the rules are out the window. You want results? Write your cover letter like a marketing letter. Why do you think all the junk mail and promotional emails you get works for companies? We know it works because they keep doing it. Some people are reacting, responding and doing what these companies want.
Well, YOU are your own company. You should market your company the best way possible to get the results you want.
What makes a good marketing letter?
Speak the language of the reader – make sure the company clearly understands what they will gain from you being an employee. How will they benefit?
Write a strong headline and use it AS a headline. Trash “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern”. UGH! Center, bold, clear, clever and on point. MAKE them read that letter.
Take out the “I’s”. I did this and I did that. And especially, I WANT this and I WANT that. THEY DON’T CARE! They care what you will do for their company and have you done it before? “As your next project manager at XYZ Landscaping, I would bring an energy, passion and drive every day to achieve the results that match the company’s goals.” It’s an opportunity to use some of the verbiage from their job ad too!
Strong intro and call to action at the end with two to three applicable examples of what you did and the results you achieved for companies.
The intro should tie into your headline and lead into your results.
The results - give three bullet points with specifics, like “contributed to a 50% increase in sales in 2018 for XYZ company by implementing digital marketing campaigns”. Try and use varied examples to show your strengths. These can be centered on the page and larger, like callouts, maybe even with a border or background behind them.
Call to action – be bold. “Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find the right fit for your company in the role of….” “Please give me call to set up a time to meet”. And of course, always courteous…”Thank you for your time and consideration”. And your contact information is critical.
Lastly, your resume. Yes, I said LASTLY. For starters, please don’t apply for jobs you are not qualified for. Doesn’t work. Even if you are a masterful writer and interviewee and somehow land the job…very unlikely you will last.
Your resume should be easy to read and clearly show:
Name, address, phone, email, your past roles/titles, companies, employment dates (month/year), main responsibilities for each role, education, other achievements/groups/professional affiliations, etc. I am not a fan of interests, family, hobbies and definitely not the “objective”. Your cover letter says that and we ALL know that your objective is to get a job...otherwise, why are you going to all this trouble?
To wrap it up, market yourself. We are all marketers. If you are married or have a significant other, you had to market yourself a lot to get into that relationship. Different set of skills, but still, the same idea. Use the cover letter as your secret weapon. It works!
Hope you get the job that excites you to get up in the morning!