For many unemployed young people, the job hunt is a dismal pursuit. Books about resume writing state the importance of “standing out,” but it’s hard to showcase your achievements when everyone around you has comparable triumphs. Even that stellar academic history becomes a minimum requirement when colleges are handing out As at record highs. You’ve listed many accomplishments, but from the perspective of a potential employer, you look exactly the same as every other applicant.
If you’re relying on stale resume advice, you’ll only get as far as others taking the same approach. By thinking like a marketer and creating an ad campaign for yourself, you can defy the odds and outshine other qualified applicants.
Adopt the marketing mindset
Marketers have been tackling the problems of differentiating their product from competitors’ and becoming the go-to consumer brand for years. It’s a constant struggle, and they consistently have to up their game to stay in the race.
Like them, you want to stand out among your peers. Applying these specific marketing tactics will help you leave a lasting impression on potential employers.
- Appeal to your target market. Before potential employers see your name on a list of applicants, you should be working to interact and market yourself directly. Turn one-way communication into an ongoing conversation by engaging with companies on social media. Don’t forget to spruce up your online personality, and keep your digital resume updated.Through your profile and interactions, demonstrate how your personality and experiences would benefit a company and its clients. Consider writing a blog to further express yourself. Ask yourself, “If my work were a product, how would I market myself to my target audience? How would I differentiate myself from other applicants?”
When you market yourself before applying for a job, companies have more opportunities to get to know (and like) you. Then, they’ll actually recognize your name in a pile of applications and have a positive association.
- Communicate through multiple platforms. Pay attention to the companies you’re interested in working for on social platforms. Read their blogs, follow them on Twitter and connect with key employees on LinkedIn. Once you’ve spent about a week closely following them, make an articulate comment on a blog post or ask an insightful question. This demonstrates interest and shows them how you’ll communicate with their team and clients. It’s like an audition they didn’t know they’d called.If you want to take it a step further, attend professional association meetings and engage with potential employers in person. Very few students take advantage of these opportunities, but nothing is more powerful than making your debut face-to-face.
- Break down barriers and customer objections. A huge priority for marketers is keeping customer concerns in check. Potential employers will have their doubts, and it’s your job to disprove them.Find your weakest area and work to improve it. If you don’t have relevant experience, go get some. Consider volunteering, or offer to work for free if it’ll teach you something. Be creative in framing your past experiences to fit companies’ needs. Do whatever you can to show you have what it takes.
- Stay top of mind. If you don’t land your top-choice job, don’t get discouraged. Marketers won’t stop vying for customer attention, and you shouldn’t give up either. The company will likely have more openings in the future, and you’ll be ready when it does.Tenacity is a trait every employer wants, so don’t walk away with your head hanging low. Stay engaged, keep reading the company’s blog and occasionally make a comment. If you didn’t get noticed before, make an effort the next time around.
- Communicate creatively. Believe it or not, crafting your resume and cover letter should be one of the last steps of your job-seeking strategy.After marketing yourself and engaging with the company, shift your focus to writing your cover letter and refining your resume. This is your final chance to land an interview. Think about your favorite ads: The most effective ones make bold statements that appeal to a specific audience. The best advertisers know they have to turn some people off to attract the right crowd; don’t be afraid to take a risk.
You’re probably eyeing quite a few companies, so remember to tweak your strategies to appeal to each one specifically. Be authentic but memorable, and leave them intrigued about the person behind the resume.
Consumers today have more access to information than ever before, and they won’t make a purchase until they like and trust a company. Your future employers have a similar mindset. They hire as much for cultural fit as they do for competency. Remember to sell your personality during the interview. Confidence is what makes you unique and memorable.
Marketing is all about getting to the next round. You have to advance to the interview phase if you want a shot at closing the deal. If you rely on your application materials to win over an employer, you probably won’t impress the companies you’re after. Don’t be a depressing statistic — stop thinking like an applicant, and start thinking like a marketer.
This article was written by Drew McLellan and originally published on Mashable.