Marketing is a rapidly changing field, highly technology reliant and regularly evolving into new concepts with a plethora of keywords. However, the principles and justifications for marketing generally stay the same. We as marketing professionals want to do one thing well, communicate. The common misconception is that sales, brand awareness and all the other marketing benefits are the only consideration. They are not, they are just the end result of communicating in a way which demonstrates understanding of the environment and the understanding of those who you want to hear and understand your messages. What that ‘something’ is can be pretty much whatever you want it to be; a new product or service, a brand message, a customer service campaign, a job advert. Or a job application?
When a hiring manager or recruitment professional decides on recruitment activity (the advertising and positioning of the advert, selling the company and package etc) they do so using a number of highly specific marketing principles, whether they know they do this or not is another question but I suspect some do not. They will have been briefed about what personality is required for any given role, what sort of skill set is required, what qualifications that person is likely to have and what level of prior experience is needed. The result of this is that they already have their perfect candidate in their head and the job spec and advert is written based on this image. Their job is to communicate the requirement in the best way possible to ensure the return on investment is as close to ‘the perfect candidate’ as possible.
So how does an applicant market themselves?
Your personal marketing plan is something which you might not have given much thought to but with every application, you as the candidate wittingly or unwittingly engage in the very same marketing principles. At least half of all failing applications do so based on the poor understanding of how to market yourself as a candidate to the specifics of the role and organisation as opposed to overall unsuitability.
When you decide to apply for a role, you and the recruiter enter a unique marketing relationship where you both need to communicate the correct messages in order to achieve what you both want, a successful hire. As the candidate your primary focus should begin with the job specification, you must research and identify the industries, companies, cultures and roles that you will be suitable for and will enjoy, these are your targets. Discipline here often pays off, if you can ensure you spend more time writing applications to organisations you are interested in and for roles that you will enjoy then your applications will be natural and honest and more transparent.
Marketers target their communication; they design content for specific demographics of their customer base that is designed to elicit a response. Ensuring you re-write your CV and cover letter to address the specific qualifications and experiences (make use of keywords) established in the job advert is important. However, highlighting individual achievements within specific tasks and experiences that will prove your performance levels were higher than the average is how you ensure the recruiter selects your CV to read in more detail. You do not need to list your all-time greatest achievements just emphasise the ones relevant to this role. Ensuring any online presence matches your written application is important for consistency; if you received marketing communications that presented a different message in one medium than they did in another, you would be disappointed.
Make the most of your network, using job boards is a great way to make a professional public profile however if you don’t regularly update the information and engage with people via these platforms, they stagnate and will have to be hastily fixed when the time comes to make applications. Making the most of your network can be a great inroad to a position that you would not normally have been able to identify. Furthermore you need to measure what is working and what is not. If you get the chance to ask for feedback then do so, but make sure you take it on board and address it for future efforts.
So finding a job is marketing then?
Communication is the key to you achieving success in your job search. You must present yourself as the best solution to the problem for that organisation (the problem being the open vacancy). If you are guilty of applications with a ‘one size fits all’ CV and cover letter clichés such as the ‘determined individual’ or surprise surprise; ‘I am a good communicator’, then you should reconsider your tactics.
My challenge to you is to change your job hunting habits, to prove yourself with communication and marketing principles that focus on quality not quantity. If you limit the number of applications you make but spend the same amount of time making the few as you would making the many, you will allow yourself to find the right opportunity. Read more into the role, research the company culture, identify the areas of responsibility you can excel at and credibly highlight and present a relevant application that is harder to ignore. Alternatively, you can run the risk of becoming the ‘spam marketing’ of applications, the unsolicited and unjustified attempt that only goes down as poorly targeted and poorly communicated. Ultimately, forgotten.
Matt Thomas is Marketing Associate for Quarsh, a leading RPO and Talent Warehousing organisation. He regularly contributes to the Quarsh Blog on matters such as social media and employer branding.
For many candidates the interview can be the most daunting part of the recruitment process and can fill them with dread. Job interviews are stressful by nature and almost everyone gets interview nerves. Here are our top 5 tips to help you overcome your fears and ace an interview.
1. Don’t be afraid to show off
The first question you are likely to be asked is “what do you know about the company?” if you say nothing that will not get you off to a flying start. When researching a company my two stops are the company website and Google. Use the website to find out who they are, what they are about, their clients and their target audience. Searching the company on Google will return any blogs, press releases and breaking news about the company – all useful information to start off the interview!
Remember to take a copy of your CV/Resume and the job description to refer back to, it is also worth putting your CV on to a USB stick, and of course prepare your portfolio if one is required.
2. Practice makes perfect
It’s always a good idea to practice being interviewed before the real deal, to become familiar with questions you are most likely going to be asked. The more comfortable you are with answering the questions the easier the interview will be.
Interview questions will depend on the job level you are applying for, but there are general questions you are likely to be asked such as ‘What are your strengths/weaknesses, your goals, accomplishments and how you handled a difficult task.’
Practice in plenty of time and you won’t have any problems answering the questions.
We shouldn’t need to tell you this – make sure you’re on time. First impressions count and showing up 10 minutes late will do you no favours with your interviewer.
Have a practice run getting to the interview on time, use Google maps for exact directions and have alternative routes should there be any problems. Take note of the contact number for both the recruiter and the company your interview is with, should there be any problems you can let them know.
4. Make an effort
Unsure what to wear? Always go for the smart option. You don’t need to over-do it, a suit or dress will be appropriate for most companies. I would advise not to use any heavy aftershave or perfume and be careful on the make-up – you want to make a lasting impression for the right reasons.
5. Once the interview is over
Always ask for feedback from the interviewer, if you were unsuccessful, take away the experiences learned and improve on your technique for the next time. If you show your initiative and keenness, the interviewer might consider you for future vacancies at the company.
You should always follow up with a thank you email/phone call for the interviewer’s time, regardless of the outcome.
And, if you can’t remember those top 5 tips then remember these top 3 tips shared by a recruitment consultant:
- Don’t swear
- Remember to shower
- Make sure your zipper is up
Category: Careers Advice, Interview Tips
We are in the midst of a huge change in the way we receive our news. Until very recently the power of mass communication was vested only in television companies, radio stations, newspapers and other publications.
But, that is no longer the case. Now, anyone with a computer, or simply a mobile phone, can broadcast a message around the world instantly.
That really hit home in January 2009 when US Airways flight 1549 ditched in the Hudson River.
Thanks to onlookers in Manhattan and on a passing ferry, the first reports were beamed around the world on Twitter. The first picture was on the web a good 15-minutes before the news channels’ helicopters reached the scene.
As 7,000 people scrambled to see that picture, the server collapsed under the strain.
Social media and the job-seeker
So, what does this have to do with you, as someone seeking a new career in the oil and gas sector?
It means that you have a powerful suite of social media opportunities at your disposal to get your name out there, in front of potential employers.
OilCareers.com recently highlighted on its Facebook page that being ‘head-hunted’ is no longer reserved only for senior management. So it pays to use every opportunity to sell yourself and your skills to potential employers.
Social media opportunities
The recent blog on this website, by Dominic Morris gave you an insight into the ways you can showcase your skills with LinkedIn.
Twitter also has potential if you can master the style of saying something apt and meaningful in just 140 characters. I’m not sure I can see the Evening Standard’s Twesume (half tweet half resume) taking off, giving the limited amount you could say.
However, if you can find some potential employers and other influential people in your sector and persuade them to follow you, then you have the opportunity to put across your strengths.
But, remember how nobody likes an overzealous sales pitch, or the conversation hog at a party who will not stop talking about how brilliant they are. Get your message across with charm and subtlety!
Watch out for the dangers
Hardly a week goes by without our news featuring stories of someone in court, or threatened with court action, as a result of what they said on Twitter, or Facebook.
Even if you don’t say anything libellous, remember your social media comments are public. Your potential future employer would not be the first to Google your name (or username) to see what comes up.
That ill-considered comment you made on Twitter, or Facebook, months ago might just come back to haunt you.
So, before you hit the send button on your next social media update, just make sure you are happy that a potential employer could well see your comment.
Guest blog by Ken McEwen of Ken McEwen Public Relations www.kenmcewen.com