Career Marketing: What Do You Mean I’m a Product?

If you have recently launched a job search, you know all the hard work it takes to stay focused, committed and dedicated to the process.

When you have not looked for a job in a long time, getting the perfect resume, mastering interview techniques and having the energy to network and engage with key decision makers all seem like endless hurdles.

How about an easier way to think about your entire job search and career marketing process?

Think of yourself as the product (a brand called YOU) and your ideal employers as the buyers? After all, when a company hires you (pays for your salary, benefits, perks etc), they get full access to your product benefits and brand attributes.

So when you think about your favorite products and services, what are some of the marketing strategies used to get your attention, speak to your need and prompt you to make a purchase? They didn’t just randomly create ads and launch marketing campaigns.

Instead, they did the research, got clear on target market, solidified their brand for distinction and then executed a multifaceted marketing plan to land you as a customer. Why not use the same approach and strategy for your job search?

A) Know your target market and industry

Do you have clear concept of your target industry and its market conditions? Are you aware of which employers are more likely to hire you because of your career background and expertise?

Create a profile of an ideal employer with a detailed outline of salaries and benefit packages for people with your background or similar; the skills / experience / expertise combination that current / former employees at your level have; and info on any industry growth or changes.

Talk to former employees or executive recruiters and peruse reviews on to assess the company’s buying power right now. Has the company’s stock price dropped? Are they going through a rapid growth phase? Did they have a recent hiring freeze?

You don’t want to get caught in analysis paralysis, but there also no point is rushing to join a new company that will end up laying you off in a few months regardless of how attractive the offer is upfront. When you know what to expect, you can make wise decisions.

B) Know your career brand / professional reputation

You didn’t just develop a loyalty to your favorite products and services overnight. Those companies knew their value, are clear on their benefits and repeatedly convince how your life is better with their goods.

In a highly competitive market like we have today, lots of talented professionals and executives are offering their “products”.

But, how do you get the attention of your ideal employer in a sea of activities?

That’s where your career brand and professional reputation has to be strong so you can leverage it in a job search. Are your achievements, company contributions and leadership impacts properly documented on your resume and LinkedIn profile?

C) Know what it takes to get your career marketing message out

If you think about what is needed in the “print advertising” portion of your job search, the first obvious document is your professional resume. But depending on the industry you are targeting, the ideal employer you have in mind or what job search tactics you are using, it will take more than a great resume and LinkedIn profile.

A recruiter may find value in a personal marketing plan, you can leave a powerful impression with an interviewer by using a Critical Leadership Initiatives document as a leave behind item. In some cases, a career biography may be a better introduction than the resume.

The same way a company does not use the same advertisements to reach diverse audience, make sure that you package your career marketing message in the right format.

D) Know your best personal advertising and marketing channels

When was the last time you recommended a great product or service to a friend or family member? It probably didn’t take much work to convince the person to take a closer look or try the product/service you recommended.

Why? Because word-of-mouth advertising is the least expensive, most effective, and longest-lasting of all forms of advertising.

The same works in a job search. Your personal contacts and professional network can open doors and create introductions faster than any powerful, high-impact resume.

Whether through personal conversations, coffee chats or informational interviews, have strategic engagement with others who can advance your job search.

How many people can you call on today who know your strengths and what you bring to the table? How active are you in networking activities and professional events, not just when you need a job?

The best and most successful companies don’t stop doing marketing and cease their advertising efforts when profits are high, so remember that you and your career are products.

Market yourself when you love your job and everything is great, so when it’s time to market yourself in a job search, the process is more natural and comfortable for you.