As a job seeker, you need to develop an important set of new skills. Job search requires sales and marketing skills!
You must learn how to think like a marketer and learn the basic fundamentals of selling!
Because it is going to take a lot more to differentiate yourself from the other candidates looking for the same job you are.
AND because hiring managers need to be able to justify every expense and see a return on their investment.
Hiring a new employee is one of the greater risks employers take. Make it easy for your future hiring manager to justify bringing you on board by explaining how they will benefit financially from hiring you!
Skills Sales & Marketing Pros Have Mastered
People with a background in sales understand basic sales principles and know how to build a sales funnel. You can see how it relates to your job search here.
They understand lead generation and aren’t afraid of rejection because they know it’s part of the process. Job seekers are sales professionals and should understand what the job duties are in their new role.
The responsibilities of a sales professional closely mirror those of a job seeker, as a matter of fact, these ARE actual responsibilities taken from a sales job posting:
- Develop new and manage existing relationships by systematic outreach and follow up
- Perform prospecting on the phone and in person to build a pipeline of opportunities
- Strategically manage online and offline brand promotion
- Increase contact volume and enhance awareness in the community
- Plan and implement a marketing strategy/campaign
- Write strong technical and marketing materials
- Monitor activities and performance to ensure activities meet or exceed established plan
Just as sales professionals must identify the companies who need their product or service; you must identify companies who could use your services.
Sales professionals develop a large pipeline of potential customers, not just those who have an immediate need. Their prospective customer is anyone who could potentially use their product. The million dollar question is: How?
They find new ways to identify customers. One way is by identifying similar products they may use. In your case, look at companies who already employ people who do what you do. Search LinkedIn for job titles and see which companies have your job. Or you could look at what companies are doing. Are they growing? Did they win a new contract? You can identify companies that will have a future need for the problem your services solve.
Once you have identified these targets, create a sales pitch for each individual company based on what they would gain by using your service.
As you know, you have a personal brand or personal reputation. How are you strategically managing this and promoting it within the community?
Sales professionals participate in trade shows, industry events, and local events. Likewise, you should seek opportunities to attend and perhaps even speak at events in your area of expertise.
Get out of the house and meet people!
And don’t forget to build a reputation online by embracing social media. Use LinkedIn by commenting on status updates and articles and participate in discussions. Share valuable content others in your industry will be interested in. Respond to questions and help others on other social networks.
Here’s more on how to use the various social media platforms to have converstions: How To Use Social Networks to Network
Strong Communication Skills
Every email, pitch, and proposal a salesperson sends and every conversation determines whether they will close the sale or not. Learn how to write and speak clearly and concisely. Write your message so that a prospective employer can see your value. In other words, explain the benefits of hiring you, not just your features (skills and abilities).
One of the best ways to show your strong communication skills is to create videos! Learn more here.
Have A Strategy You Can Measure
A strategy is more than applying to every job that looks interesting. Purposely focus on companies and people who you know could use your services. We call this target marketing and it happens in advance of a job posting. Are you measuring these activities?
- How many people did you reach out to this week?
- How many new leads or contacts did you get?
- How many jobs did you apply to?
- How many interviews did you have?
- How many hours did it take you to do all this?
Have you ever seen a sales professional’s weekly progress report? These are the kinds of metrics they are asked to track. You should too.
Other Duties As Assigned
This may be one of the most important job responsibilities. In fact, almost every job description includes this phrase. Why? Because being resilient, flexible, and adaptable is so important. Think about how quickly things change. Companies need workers who can adapt just as quickly.
The one attribute salespeople possess, which will serve you well, is the ability to deal with rejection. It is part of their job and you will experience it too.
Salespeople realize that not every opportunity will convert into a sale. As a job seeker, not every lead or every interview will translate into a job offer. Be prepared for this. Learn how to cope with the fact you may never know the real reason you weren’t called in for an interview or selected for a job. Just keep moving forward, adapting your strategies to favor those that are successful.
Originally appeared US News & World Report’s On Careers
If you want to learn to think like a great marketer and salesperson, might I suggest you read some of these blogs:
Seth Godin’s blog and any and all of his books!
Ducttape Marketing by John Jantsch and his books!
Jeffrey Gitomer’s weekly column or any of his books on selling (he has videos too!)
The Sales Blog by S. Anthony Iannarino
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.