How to Market Yourself for Your Dream Job
I've had a lot of jobs. Just check out my LinkedIn profile. Which means I've done a ton of job interviews and I think my success rate when it comes to getting the job from an interview is pretty high. It's not luck either, I've been through some tough interview processes and even worked closely with Human Resources and Recruiting departments to gain insights on what people are looking for and how you can stand out.
Follow these tips and you will see your success rate skyrocket when it comes to getting callbacks and job offers.
Invest in Your Resume
Particularly in marketing, it always baffles me when I see plain and boring resumes. You are literally marketing yourself to me or whoever is looking to hire. You should be communicating who you are through that document. When I'm hiring, I'm looking for something clear and concise, that communicates who you are.
Spend some time looking for a nice resume template or hire a designer to jazz up your current one. Whatever you do, make sure that you can edit it so that it highlights certain skills that are needed for whatever job you are applying for.
You also need to keep in mind that for any position you really, really want, there's going to be at least a couple other dozen people feeling the same way. Show your enthusiasm and commitment to the role by spending some time making your documents look polished, unique, and professional. Oh and spend some time learning about what not to do as well.
Pick Up the Phone
Many employers will specify in a job posting that they don't want to be contacted. Fair enough, but I can tell you that as someone who has spent many hours job-hunting, it can be incredibly frustrating to not know what's going on. Especially when it's your dream job and you're holding off on applying elsewhere.
For any position I've really wanted, I've called the front desk and said 'Hi, I'm hoping you can help me. I've applied for XXX and I'm just wondering if they've started reaching out to applicants?'
Here's why it works. If you're being extra nice and appreciative, the person on the other end of the phone is generally happy to help. You're not giving your name so no one is going to know that you're the person who is ignoring part of the job posting that says don't reach out. I've almost always gotten helpful information that has given me a small edge or peace of mind.
Every. Little. Bit. Helps. Again, you need to think that 100 other people are going for a position you're gunning for. Look through your LinkedIn connections and see if you know anyone who works there who can give you a reference or say a good word on your behalf. Reach out to people on Instagram who work at that company and send them a message introducing yourself and say you hope you will be working together soon.
One company I worked for expected you to reach out to your potential new co-workers before an interview and ask questions about what they were looking for and help you understand the job. But you were also campaigning and it made a huge difference to be able to step into an interview knowing a few people there and what they were looking for.
Do Your Research
Before you even apply. Spend some time researching the company, it's growth, and its culture. Not only for your own benefit but because you'd be surprised how many people step into an interview unprepared. For an employer, it's a relief to sit down with someone who is educated on the role, the company, and how they fit in.
In the past few years, I've come into interviews with a fully integrated marketing plan. Was it a ton of extra work that could amount to nothing? Yes. But was it worth it to get the job? Yes. Does it work? I've almost always gotten the job when I arrive not only prepared but with work to review and explain.
Know Your Weaknesses
I'm not the best at selling myself in person. I know it's sort of ironic since I'm in the business of marketing but it feels weird to me. It's another reason I'll come in with a marketing plan or some sort of plan on how I see myself attacking the new job. I don't have to tell someone how competent and perfect I am for the role, I show them exactly how I will approach it and prove my abilities.
If your weakness is lack of experience, then come into the interview prepared to talk about something else.
Determine Your Selling Point
Just like a product or service, know what your differentiator is. If you're going up against a number of other candidates, it's likely you're only going to be remembered for one key thing anyway. Are you the person with tons of experience and successful track record? Or are you the person with a ton of connections and fresh energy? Know what makes you different and be ready to speak to that.
Another company I worked for expected you to wow them. If you love to cook (it was a food company) then bring in some cookies. If you were creative and fantastically talented as an artist, then your portfolio should reflect that.
One time I went into an interview and the interviewer was at a brand new desk in a new office and we joked about her needing an office plant. I couriered over a thank you note with an office plant later that day.
Yes, it could come off as over the top but why not swing for the fences? Use your judgement but always do something that is going to wow them, even if it's just a detailed and sincere thank you note.
Now go get that dream job!
Looking for more great career advice? Read our post on Sleep and Self Care to Succeed.