Your Job Search Is A Marketing Campaign Part II

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: June 12, 2008 - 10:42 AM

Here's a continuation of my article a few months back on how the successful job search is really just a personal marketing campaign.

To recap, the same marketing techniques that sell billions of dollars of products and services on TV, in print, and via direct mail, can also help you find a job.

All you have to do is look at the advertisements you see with an eye toward borrowing their best ideas for your job search.

Here are three ways to do that, and get hired faster by emulating successful marketing.

1. Define Your Target Market

Smart marketers don't try to sell to everyone. Instead, they clearly define their ideal prospects in terms of age, income, hobbies, etc. Then, they create advertisements that appeal to them directly.

Example: McDonald's wants to be the number one choice for children, so they target them by advertising Happy Meals with toys based on popular movies. Result? Kid sees toy on TV, kid pesters parent, parent takes kid to McDonald's.

You can do the same with your job search.

Define, in as much detail as possible, the kind of work you want to do and the company you want to do it for. Then write your resumes and cover letters to appeal to that target market. Speak the language and say what they want to hear. Leave everything else out.

Focusing on a "target market" brings immediate clarity to your search for the perfect job. And it will give you an edge over approximately 80 percent of other job seekers, who really have no specific idea of what they're looking for.

2. Develop a USP

A USP, which stands for unique selling proposition, is at the heart of all successful marketing. Any business that can't answer the question, "What can I get from you that I can't get from your competition?" won't be in business for long.

FedEx ("When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight"), Domino's Pizza ("Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes, or it's free"), and Avis ("We try harder") all built billion-dollar businesses on a good USP.

To develop your USP, answer this simple question: "Why should I hire you and not the other guy?"

Simple, yes. Easy, no. But you absolutely, positively can NOT expect busy employers to figure out your unique value. You must do that thinking for them.


Avoid trite claims like, "I'm hard-working and trustworthy." That's not unique. (And it could also describe a good hunting dog.)

Instead, focus on your unique combination of skills, knowledge and experience.

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