Your latest marketing campaign: you

Have you ever considered your career development as a marketing campaign? Christopher Paterson, managing director at Alchemy Career Management, takes us through the campaign from product review, market research and product pitch.

Christopher Paterson 180Have you ever considered your career development as a marketing campaign? Successful career development is just like any other branding and promotion exercise – one which is often already firmly entrenched in the DNA of my marketing professional clients. As a career coach, I see this solid understanding of marketing fundamentals as the the perfect platform for identifying and achieving your career aspirations.

Begin with a detailed product review

What are the product’s key assets? What track record does the product have? What evidence is there to support this? What is the product’s image or reputation and what are the opportunities for this product if marketed well?

Now, reflect on these questions in terms of your own career. What are your personal strengths? When are you at your best? What examples do you have of your best work? What are the opportunities for you if you combine what you love doing and what you’re good at? What are your career aspirations?

Look at the market

Just like a marketing campaign, one option is to stay and grow with your existing customer base (ie. your current employer). However, there is always the option to explore other markets.

Depending on the product characteristics, this may be in a similar segment (ie. same role type/same industry). A quarter of our clients choose this option.

You may however choose to explore a different segment (ie. similar role in a different industry or a different role in the same industry). 40% of our clients choose to use their transferable skills to make a change.

Alternatively, you could choose to completely rebrand and relaunch (ie. reinvent your career by doing something completely different). One in three clients choose this path.

In order to make the right decision, market research is key. What does the market need? What assets are valued? What price will customers pay for these assets? How are these products and services procured? We explore the employment market in the same terms.

The pitch

In career development, one of the first things to work on is the elevator pitch. The human attention span has now reduced to a fleeting eight seconds so this is your window of opportunity to get to the point and to spark interest. This becomes your mantra when networking and in interviews. It will also serve to frame your resume and LinkedIn profile ensuring a consistent brand message.

The collateral

Your resumé is an important piece of marketing collateral but it won’t close the deal for you. The purpose of this document is to be compelling enough to start a conversation with a prospective employer. Short, sharp, concise and evidence based communication is the best way to help people to connect with you. Get this right and there will be ample opportunity to tell your story.

Armed with the right tools and resources, you are now ready to go to market.

With a strong articulation of your assets, drivers and aspirations, you are ideally placed to have a career development conversation with your current manager. If there is good fit and the right development opportunities to achieve your career goals then this is the successful path for you.

It is good career technique however to benchmark the market every few years just to make sure that you’re on the right trajectory. Below I have highlighted the multi-channel sourcing strategy that successful career developers use.

BTL (below the line)

These targeted brand promotion activities include:

1. Networking

Networking consistently ranks #1 as the most common way that people find their new career. Therefore, activating your first degree and second degree networks not only increases your range, it also ensures you acquire valuable market intelligence in the process. One magic question that we train clients to repeat in every networking conversation (online or in person) is ‘Who else do you think I should speak with?’

2. Direct approach

You know the company, you like their values and they are a strong fit to you and your career. Now you need to find your way to the right decision maker. Use your insights and your network here and try to avoid formal online application processes that are designed to screen you out.

TTL (through the line)

These integrated brand promotion activities include:

1. LinkedIn

Networking has become faster and easier with this mainstream business networking tool. Employers use it to find staff, recruiters use it to source candidates. Updating your profile and adding relevant connections will assist you to build your target network. Use keywords in your title and introduction as this puts you on the radar to the mass market of people searching for your skills and experience.

2. Online advertising

This is a familiar medium for most marketing professionals. The use of online job sites like Seek, Mycareer and Careerone has a much lower hit rate but there are other benefits. Firstly, from a market intelligence perspective, you’ll be able to gauge the demand for your skills and experience and the supply of available roles in your ideal remuneration range.

Secondly, you will also be able to identify the individual recruitment consultants that specialise in your target market.

3. Recruitment consultants

We recommend a blended strategy here. Get to know a few small boutique recruiters who operate specifically in your space. This below the line relationship is valuable even if the volume of roles is lower. Supplement this with a couple of large generalist recruiters who have the database and advertising reach which will connect you with a larger volume of roles in the market.

The sales process

Your marketing campaign has been successful so you now have a number of competitive offers on the table. Your ‘sales hat’ now goes on for the pitch meetings (interviews) and to negotiate and close the deal (employment contract).

Making the right decision

You’ve used your marketing know how to put yourself in a great position to either build your career with your current employer or to move on. If you do decide to move, you’ve taken the time to ensure that your new opportunity provides incrementally more opportunity to achieve you career goals.

Either way, strong marketing execution has facilitated your career success.