Time to market yourself
Marketingmag.com.au welcomes Jonathan Wiles to the careers section. Jonathan is the MD of Michael Page Marketing, and has national responsibility for all marketing recruitment across
Australia. Jonathan has more than 15 years experience with Michael Page
Marketing in both the UK and Australia.
The global financial meltdown and swine flu don’t do much for business confidence. It’s a tough job market out there. Fewer positions are being advertised and more people are looking for work. Employers are taking longer to make hiring decisions and job seekers are facing increased competition and longer job searches.
So how do you give yourself the best chance of finding work in this environment? Start by thinking of yourself as a product that needs to be marketed. What are your USPs? What are your channels to market? Who are your potential customers? As a marketer the time has come to market yourself.
People often underestimate the importance of the good old CV. I know there are other things you’d prefer to be doing but a well-written CV gets you through the door. Take the time to ensure the content is concise, follows a logical structure and highlights key achievements as well as responsibities. Don’t fabricate information but make sure that you tailor your CV for the job. Focus on the skills mentioned in the advertisement so that people scanning your CV will make easy connections.
Once your CV is ready it’s time to choose your channels to market. You can go direct when employers advertise, but it also makes sense to register with recruitment firms. Choose recruiters with a genuine focus on your profession – searching their websites for relevant job titles is a quick way to substantiate their claims. Personal referrals are another way to go – your peers will have used recruiters so ask for their recommendations.
When dealing with recruiters be proactive – now more than ever. The reality in a market like this is that you need to follow up and sell yourself. After you’ve sent your application, call the relevant consultant (generally listed on the job ad) to introduce yourself and get more information on the role.
Any recruiter worth their salt does not mind being chased by someone qualified for the position. Good consultants can add value so ask for honest feedback on your approach, interview style and content of your CV.
When you reach interview stage it all comes down to perception. In this competitive market you will be competing against a shortlist of equal caliber. Why should they hire you? What can you do to stand out in the interview room? I’m not suggesting an impromptu tap dance routine – your best chance will come with rehearsal and research you do before the interview.
By rehearsal I mean scripting your core responses and practising them until they roll off the tongue. Do this and you’ll be able to answer the interview questions confidently and concisely. People who ‘wing it’ are generally not as articulate or concise. Identify the successes you have had during your career that are most relevant to the role you are applying for. Know your numbers and ensure you can back up what you claim with examples of where you have added value or improved the bottom line. There is nothing worse in an interview if the interviewee can’t back up their statements of success.
Research is also crucial. Spend time on the web learning everything you can about the prospective employer to prove your enthusiasm. Equally don’t just stop at the company you are applying for, look at their competitors and the broader market. These days with access to information there is no excuse for being underprepared and the more knowledge you can demonstrate, the more you will impress.
In the current market you need to show employers that you want to work for them. Don’t give the impression that their company is one of many you are interviewing with. Preparing your own questions for the interviewer is a good way of demonstrating your interest.
On a final note, I’d like to say that any stigma associated with losing your job is now gone. There is widespread recognition that the redundancies happening in professions like marketing are a reflection of deteriorating business conditions, not individual performance. It may prove cold comfort if you’ve lost your job, but it is important to know that perceptions have changed.
Be flexible in your job search, consider roles in other sectors and keep an open mind to contracting. Play to your strengths and market yourself as the best thing since sliced bread.