For every job opening you are applying for, there could be dozens or even hundreds of qualified applicants to compete with. That’s why it’s essential to use innovative marketing and communications tactics to get the attention of potential employers.
Many job seekers make the mistake of thinking their resume alone is sufficient in landing them a job interview. Though your resume is a great tool to start with, it’s just one tool of many that you will utilize when marketing yourself during your job search.
You’re not alone if you’re wondering how to market yourself beyond just improving your resume. Marketing yourself to land your dream job should begin before you apply for a job. Networking, researching potential employers, creating a professional brand, and developing an online presence are all parts of an effective marketing campaign for active job seekers. The good news? These strategies are easy to apply to your job search.
All effective marketing starts with solid research. As an active job seeker, you want to create a base from which to build your marketing materials. Develop working knowledge and expertise in your chosen field, research who is most successful in it, and research the role potential employers have played in it. Once you have researched these items at length, you can then create marketing materials based on that research.
Identify the most successful players in your chosen field. What led them to their success? What choices and projects of theirs can you emulate to cultivate your own success? Do you have similar projects and work experience that you can highlight on your resume and other marketing materials? If not, what can you do to work towards similar successes? Consider your answers to all of these questions when developing materials to market yourself.
Research potential employers’ histories. This goes beyond rote knowledge like when they were founded or who their current executive board is. Any wise job seeker will know to research this type of information.
Take your research steps further. For instance, if you’re applying for a job at a law firm, what were some landmark wins for the firm? If it’s an advertising or marketing agency, what were some of their successful or award-winning campaigns?
This type of information not only informs how you approach the creation of your marketing materials, but it also gives you great conversation starters and questions to ask during an interview.
In today’s job market, social media is a valuable resource for doing research, networking, and landing interviews. Social media provides an indispensable set of tools for job seekers across a range of professions. Effectively leveraging these tools can go a long way in building your personal brand and getting noticed by potential employers.
Similar to identifying top leaders in your field, see if there is anyone in your network of contacts (or someone in your periphery) from whom you can seek professional long-term career advice. If there isn’t anyone in your first line of contacts, look to see if any of your connections know people that you would like to reach out to.
People are more likely to correspond with you if you are referred by someone they know.
LinkedIn is one resource to utilize for this type of research. LinkedIn allows you to see how many degrees of separation there are from you and those you might want to meet. As you identify mentors and forge professional relationships, you will be expanding your network of contacts that could pay off not only today but also in the future as you advance in your career.
As you research the histories of potential employers, you should be keeping up with them on social media. This gives you a well-rounded knowledge of their history, as well as an idea of current initiatives that indicate a company future you wish to support.
It also gives you information that can be used to network and spark up a conversation with someone who works for the company. This can help you get your foot in the door.
Building your personal brand will help you stand out from other job seekers. Your professional brand is unique to you, and if you're doing it right, it will be consistent across all of your marketing tools and materials.
What is something that singularly defines the way you approach your career and professional life? The answer to this question can inform what you want your elevator pitch to say about you.
The best brands have elevator pitches that are 30 seconds or less when read out loud. Develop an elevator pitch that encapsulates your driving purpose and use it prominently. You can reframe it as a resume objective, use it on a portfolio site, and display it in other professional bios. Your elevator pitch should allow the listener to clearly grasp who you are, what you do, and what you aspire to do.
When done well, it’s a great way to share your credentials and expertise efficiently with those who don’t know you (yet).
Now that you’ve done your research and begun making connections, it’s time to develop your marketing materials. Your visual brand assets, resume, and cover letter are the tools that tell your story—your work history, accomplishments, successes, and current goals.
Your general resume is your master resume, a large document that provides a comprehensive look at your work experience. It highlights your accomplishments, skills, and experiences. When using it as an online profile, adding videos, images, and links to projects that showcase your accomplishments can make them stand out. On VisualCV, your resume lives at your unique URL, such as visualcv.com/my-url.
Your general resume is the foundation of your job search. It is where you can keep a master list of all of your experience, skills, and projects. You can then create customized versions of the general resume to apply for specific positions, curating the resume content to suit each application.
You can also link to your general resume from different platforms to promote yourself. This allows anyone viewing your profile on those websites to navigate to your detailed resume for a more in-depth look at your experience.
Upload your resume as a PDF to websites and databases that are relevant to you.
Link to and from your online profiles. Your master VisualCV can be linked to your social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) and personal website. If people viewing your profile are interested in learning more, they’ll be able to click on your link and view more details about your experience.
Use a custom domain name to make your VisualCV your personal website. Select a domain name that's easy to remember and represents who you are (keep it professional, simple, and use your name whenever possible).
Each time you apply for a job, customize your general resume. Tailor the resume layout and content so that both align with the position for which you’re applying.
Now that you know how to market yourself, let VisualCV help you meet your self-marketing goals. VisualCV has helped hundreds of thousands of job seekers like you market themselves and further their career.
With VisualCV, you will be able to customize content to reflect your industry, personal brand, and to target potential employers and hiring managers with our easy-to-use resume templates and CV builder. You’ll also be able to view engagement on your personal website with the VisualCV analytics tool.
Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.
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