I hate to deal in cliches, but as a job seeker in today’s world, you need to act like a marketer that is promoting your brand. The thing is, most recruiters and managers want to have a real connection with the individual they are about to hire. As a marketer, your role is figure out what each individual is looking for and whether you can meet those needs. In order to get a job, you need to promote yourself.
So in the next few weeks, we are going to address what you need to to in order to sell yourself, starting with:
How to ID What People Want
Before you effectively brand yourself, you need to understand what your buyers want and what they will pay for.
How can you figure this out? First check out the career pages for the companies you plan to target. What experience, knowledge and skills are they highlighting? What do they say are the selling points of individuals within company? Check out job postings related to your professional interests as well. Write down key factors including soft skills, technical skills, education and experience.
Now it’s time to dig deeper. What is the norm for the industry and what is the industry missing? To find this out, check out news related to your career path of choice. You can set a Google alert to get the latest insights in your field. I would also recommend checking out recruiting news in your industry to access inside information on recruiter’s wishes and pet peeves.
Next, dig in a bit more. Ask for informational interviews or just have an informal conversations with a few contacts in the industry. Ask them questions that will give you hidden insights such as “What are the skills you want in a candidate, but wouldn’t necessarily put in a job description?” and “Where do you think the industry is going?” Or, go to an industry event, and take advantage of the Q and A to ask what skills and knowledge the presenters feels will be most important in the next few years (note: keep in mind that you may not want to expose yourself as a job seeker if your employer may find out).
Once you have a general idea of what people and companies are looking for, put it all together in a "laundry list" of qualifications . Then, divide the list by general industry “wants” and “needs.” The “wants” are items that are valued, but not necessary for the role. The “needs” are the absolute expected standards. These are the key factors that are important in a role. Keep these lists handy, because you are going to need them in in Brand Yourself: Part 2 - I.D. Your Selling Points.