No matter how the “job market” swings the prepared job seeker/career manager must understand the employer’s needs and wants. Basic marketing principles apply in this endeavor in order to “seal the deal and obtain the job you want.
Basic Market Research Techniques
What does the market (employers) want? Find this out by doing your homework through various resources. The Internet is a fantastic tool; however, how you use it is more important than the technology itself. Here is your list of resources:
• Internet; especially LinkedIn, Google, niche job boards and a variety of specialty web sites.
• Trade or professional publications
• Articles in the mainstream media (hard copy print), specifically local.
• Smart use (emphasis on smart) of Social Media
• Federal, state and local resources for hiring trends need to be used wisely as they “age out” quickly.
• Professional association membership and activity.
• Networking, networking, networking...
Learn how to exclude as well as include potential employers as wasting time chasing after the wrong thing will be costly.
Learn your market
The key areas here are: geographical area(s), field and industry. Relocation as opposed to commute tolerance is critical for yourself or your family, so honesty is important.
What does this market desire and do you have it? Look at your technical abilities, leadership skills (formal and informal) and communication style. How flexible and adaptable are you; can you prove it?
Identify and research your targeted organizations via some of these resources:
• The public library!
• The business section of your local paper (hard copy or on line).
• The Business Journal (www.bizjournals.com) as there are editions in many U.S. communities.
• Various local business publications (in Milwaukee, WI, the Biz Times; www.biztimes.com)
• The Wall Street Journal
• Various specialty e-newsletters sponsored by NAWBO (SmartBrief series).
You’ll have access to names of people, their titles, employer and comments of important business issues. Then form a strategy and a plan as to how to connect with these potential hiring mangers.
What do you offer the market?
Let’s look at the other key components of Marketing:
You are the product; what benefit do you offer the employer? Pricing is the salary or wage you require due to what you bring to the employer’s advantage. Packaging is what you’re using to get to the decision maker; your 2-sided personal business card, the resume, how you effectively use LinkedIn and finally your personal presence. Promotion is the way not only you use these tools, but others (your networking allies). The final component is placement; being at the right place at the right time and in front of the right person.
How do I start?
Determine your communication style and choose the strongest attribute to start the connection. The options are email, telephone or direct face to face. Be brief, direct and respectful of people’s time. Don’t overwhelm them with information nor hold them accountable to find you a job.
Find suitable networking groups where you can practice your techniques and refine them. You have to be at your best when “graduating” to the total stranger level. If possible find a Mastermind group in your area where mutual benefit paired with accountability is the norm.
It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
Superior use of verbal communication increases effectiveness. The words you choose will influence the ability to meet with key people and get assistance. Use the word meeting instead of interview. Address the issue, if there is one that they were quoted on in a business publication to start the conversation. For those in higher level positions approach it as a business conversation, not an employment situation.
Practice this use of business language in your networking groups so that it comes out as natural conversation. Establishing mutual benefit in how you can help each other out is an objective; securing satisfying employment is the goal.