Product: Applying The 4 P’s of Marketing to Your Job Search

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I Am A Product: Applying The 4 P’s of Marketing to Your Job SearchIn the intro to Applying The 4 P’s of Marketing to Your Job Search we discussed the fact that the 4 P’s – Product, Place, Promotion and Price can be a useful tool for your job search. We identified Product as an item that satisfies consumer needs or wants. You are that product, so it is important to figure out exactly how to swoop in and solve employers’ problems.

What really makes you different or special? How are you going to position yourself? These are the questions that make all the difference.

It’s time to move past your skills and experience here. Those are necessary to own, but it’s these questions that make all the difference. Keep in mind that you are a complex product and you can choose to pivot your positioning in order to fit the specific opportunity that you are pursuing. For any given job, some attributes may be good to highlight while others may be best pushed to the back. Below are a few different jobs that I have applied for and the way that I have modified myself – as the product – accordingly.

I started my search very focused on becoming a Marketing Coordinator or Marketing Specialist. As I built my search, a few other positions caught my attention, specifically product related roles on software teams. In case you are wondering, I use my Marketing Coordinator resume for general posting to job boards while my LinkedIn profile reflects more of a hybrid between the two. Below are explanations of how I positioned myself as the “product” differently for each of these roles.

Product #1: Marketing Coordinator

For Marketing Coordinator roles, I differentiate myself by portraying an extremely broad skill set and history of success with independent work developed during three years of experience in the startup space. It is always better to show people than to tell them, so instead of just telling people I have a broad skill set, I back it up with prominent “Skills & Software” section on my resume. I might even modify or call out a couple of these individually if they are specifically referenced in the job post. Here is my default list:

  • Social Media Management, Copywriting, Email Marketing and Automation, Basic HTML, Image Editing, SEO, CMS, CRM, E-commerce, Freelance and Creative Management, Digital and Print Production, Webinars, Surveys, Spreadsheets (Excel), Web and Social Analytics, Microsoft Office, PPC, Web and Email Hosting.

Likewise, instead of just saying that I have a history of success, I call out examples under each job that I have currently held. I might even bold one or two of these in the cover letter to get their attention. Here are a few examples:

  • Increased website traffic from social networks by 185%. Created steady increases in followers and engagement on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. – SurePayroll
  • Helped strategize and build the marketing infrastructure on which total sales grew from zero to approximately $600,000 in the first 15 months. – PURE ProActive
  • Built website traffic from zero to over 5,600 unique organic monthly visitors – Google Analytics. Negotiated PURE ProActive acquisition of Rejuvenation Institute. RejuvInstitute
  • Personally accounted for approximately $450,000 in sales. First team in Miami branch history to sign over 30 clients in one month. Won multiple individual challenges. – Cbeyond
  • Earned Jer’s Handmade Chocolates coverage in NY Daily News (15M daily readers). – Palm Beach Media Associates

I even like to throw this one in to show leadership and competitiveness:

  • 3 Florida Cups, 3-time “All Florida” & Forward Of 2007. – FAU Rugby

These can all be used to help perfect my fit for individual roles and differentiate myself from other applicants. As a result, I echo them accordingly across all job search collateral (cover letters, resume, LinkedIn page, discussions with recruiters, etc.) With this approach you won’t be right for every company, but you will be nearly perfect for some companies.

How should you be molding flexible elements of your experience to suit your current search?

Note: On most Marketing Coordinator resumes, I leave off the fact that I co-founded PURE ProActive and Rejuvenation Institute because Marketing Coordinator jobs are usually junior roles and I didn’t want my experience as a startup co-founder to price me out of them.

Product #2: Software Consultant

The roles that I am pursuing in this arena are geared toward individuals with interest/understanding of technology and people skills rather than experience. They want to find a candidate who can quickly grasp their software, develop strategies for implementation and add value to the product development process. As a result, I remove a lot of the specific marketing keywords and phrases that were on my resume. I make sure to keep keywords related to technology and those that were specifically called out in the job description. I do stick with the same accomplishments at each job to show that I can produce results, but I remove the Public Relations Internship from my resume in favor of expanding details on my first job as a Sales Consultant for a Small Business Technology firm. I work to make my resume, cover letters and other collateral scream leadership, tenacity and a desire to learn.

In this arena, differentiation came naturally, since Software Consultant is not a typical path for marketers or startup co-founders. However, because this is a career pivot, it requires an explanation in my objective statement as to why I am applying for that job. It is important to be clear that though my experience had been in marketing, I am looking to make a change to a strategic role within a software team.

Now you see how one person can be portrayed as different and specialized products for each job that they are interested in. If you are stuck on what employers are looking for, go to the job descriptions for positions you want. There you can find a list of skills and attributes that they are interested in. Throughout your search make sure to incorporate key skills in your resume and other promotional materials whenever you have the desired experience. This will force you to tighten these documents and make sure that each word counts.

Bonus: How can you enhance the product?

No one is going to have experience in every single area that each employer is looking for. But just because you don’t have it now, doesn’t mean that you can’t gain it. If you start to see a pattern where one or two skills could really improve your chances of landing a specific type of job, go out and get some experience with them. For instance, I noticed that Software Consultant roles often mentioned that experience with SQL was a plus. I didn’t know anything about SQL, but I want all the pluses I can get so I utilized a free 2-week membership on to take an SQL training course. Now I understand what SQL is, how it is used and even have some basic experience using it.  I am an SQL novice and one step closer to landing the job.

Similarly, I have had a few potential employers ask how I have used data to make business decisions. Grassroots startups are notoriously bad in the data area and we were no different. That said, I had tons of data lying around, I just needed to use it. So I went back and checked it out. A few business decisions resulted and now I have a story to tell when hiring managers ask. It’s that simple.

What skills would help give you a leg up on the competition? Where can you learn them?

Keep in mind that you don’t need to own a business to practice skills independently. You can do online trainings, set up accounts with free software providers and dive in, practice or volunteer to do them for a non-profit (they are always looking for help). The key here is that you are working toward experience that will benefit your career path long-term. 

I hope this was helpful. Keep your eye out for the next installment of Applying The 4 P’s of Marketing to Your Job Search, which will focus on Place.

Other articles in this series:

  • Intro
  • Place – coming soon
  • Promotion – coming soon
  • Price – coming soon

Photo by zigazou76

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