Sell your brand to land a job

The search for a job in the current economy can be brutal. The appalling unemployment rate and gloomy statistics can be discouraging enough to make you want to throw in the towel. But your bills tell you that’s not an option.

Therefore, it’s time to change the one thing you do have control of: yourself.

Changing your approach to the job search could be the boost you need to land your dream job. Rather than approaching the process as “looking for a job,” think of it as “selling a product.”

And yes, you are that product.
With that in mind, you can take tailor your approach accordingly. The following are a few tips to get you started:
Brand yourself. What makes you special? What do you have to offer that the competition doesn’t? These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself. You already know you’re a hot commodity, but you need to be able to articulate your unique attributes in order to set yourself apart from pack.
Create promotional content. Now that you know exactly why you’re the best, it’s time to prepare your promotional content – in other words, your resume and your cover letters. These will be your biggest selling pieces, so they need to be good. In fact, they should be better than good. Your resume will sell your product by including strong action words to describe your skills and accomplishments, while your cover letter will sell your brand by explaining – in a creative, engaging way – why no employer can afford to pass you up.
*Important tip: Don’t make your cover letter so over-the-top that the message gets lost. You’ve undoubtedly seen an advertisement that seems oh-so-clever, but as you’re recounting it to a friend a week later you can’t seem to recall what the product was. Or which company was selling it. Or why those talking monkeys and flying babies were relevant in the first place.
Target your audience. Don’t waste time trying to sell to buyers who aren’t interested. Targeting your audience will help you pinpoint the parties who may be interested in what you’re selling, and from there you can customize your message accordingly. Don’t send the same generic resume and cover letter to every company. Instead, thoughtfully read each job description, taking note of key words and skills the employer is seeking. You can then incorporate these words into your cover letter and resume.
Don’t make cold calls. Have you ever purchased an item from a salesperson who called you during dinner? Probably not. The same is likely true if you call about employment opportunities while the manager at Dream Job, Inc. is working on an important project. Instead, seek out someone at the company you can contact for advice. They will feel flattered that you sought out their wisdom, and your name may just pop into their head if they hear about any job opportunities.
Choose references carefully. Every successful product is accompanied by positive customer testimonials. This kind of feedback can oftentimes be more impactful than the advertising itself. So utilize your sources. Contact potential references and be sure to ask them for their permission prior to listing them on your resume. And while you’re at it, ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for potential job opportunities.

While these are just a few ways to tailor your approach, keep in mind that above all else you should remain positive. If what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working, view that as a challenge to think even further outside the box.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.