In today’s job market your resume and cover letter are often the first impression you make on a potential employer. Many people often wonder, “How can I stand out among others who have the same qualifications?”
The best way to approach this is to think about it from a marketing perspective. You are the brand – how do you best advertise yourself? A great guide is to use the four P’s of marketing: product, place, promotion and price. Primarily used to create a marketing plan for a product or service; they can be just as useful when trying to market yourself.
The first P is product. This particular P is recognizing that you are your own product in your job search. You must think about your skills, experiences and qualifications — they distinguish your abilities. Highlight these on your resume, and don’t be afraid to explain. For example, rather than just list a project you worked on, say what you learned or how you grew. Did you learn leadership skills, did the experience teach you how to listen to many opinions and help negotiate a compromise, did you use Excel? A brief two or three sentence explanation would suffice.
The next P is place. Do you want to work for a non-profit, in an office or maybe a retail store? Knowing where you want to work and why you want to be there give you the vision to focus your job search, and if a potential employer asks, “Why do you see yourself working here?” you have already have a well thought out answer.
Promotion is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as, “something (such as advertising) that is done to make people aware of something and increase its sales or popularity.” This P is the most detailed and lengthy of any of the P’s because it has to be thought out and executed properly.
Margaret Buj, an interview and career acceleration coach, wrote an article called, How to Promote Yourself with Ease and Confidence, for the website Career Attraction that has five key tips to remember:
- Understand your audience: be mindful of who your audience is and whether or not what you have to share is relevant to them.
- Promote you value, not yourself: talk about specific projects you’ve worked on and the value you’ve delivered to an organization or in a team setting.
- Demonstrate confidence and passion: you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and that you know you’ll be successful in the job.
- Get recommendations: the people that you know are often times the best people to ask for recommendations. They also can connect you to other professionals or employers that they know are hiring.
- Reframe disapproval: there will always be people that disapprove of you or your work. Instead of focusing on those individuals, focus on the people that ensure your success in your career and know how talented and invaluable you are.
You should also consider social media when thinking about your own promotion. There are so many options to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, etc., but one to really consider is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that can help connect you with employers, allow you to showcase your skills and certifications and view job postings in your area. If you are not sure how to use LinkedIn or know what its benefits are, check out our latest blog post here that details how to get your professional online presence started.
Beyond the types of social media that you have, you should also be aware of the kinds of things you post, especially if your platforms are public. According to careerbuilders annual social media recruitment survey, “60 percent of employers revealed they use social networking sites to research job candidates.”
The last P to consider is price. This particular P can be tricky because you may not be in a position to negotiate your salary. If you are, it’s an easy google search to find the average salary for similar positions in your area. If you are not in a position to negotiate your salary, a more appropriate question is to ask is if there is a possibility of a pay increase and when they are granted.
Make sure to use your resources around you. If you need help writing your resume or cover letter, your nearest SC Works center will assist you one-on-one. Click here to see the statewide locations. For more tips on how to stand out in your job search according to CEO’s and professionals read The Muse’s list here.