Job Seekers: Why And How Should You Market Yourself During A Crisis?

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Regardless of what type of job you're searching for, marketing yourself is an essential first step in the job search process. While there are a select few professionals who are so well connected or whose skills are in such high demand that they don't need to market, most people don't fall into this category. On the contrary, a successful job search requires marketing, promoting and selling a unique and valuable product: your personal brand.

The Current Job Landscape (The 'Why')

It's no secret that the past year has been unlike any other. A global pandemic has severely affected the economy and unemployment numbers, as well as how the world socializes and conducts business. As a result, job seekers have been impacted in two ways:

1. Due to the number of business closures and resulting layoffs, there is increased competition for open positions. This highlights the need for self-marketing, enabling those who do it effectively to stand out from the crowd and get hired sooner.

2. Since the start of the pandemic, the world has embraced remote work and remained socially distant. Networking events and career fairs have moved online, removing distance barriers and allowing job seekers to network from anywhere.

This combination of increased competition for jobs and the ability to actively network and interview without leaving the house means more candidates will be upping their marketing and self-promotion game, while those who don't will get left behind.

A Marketing Plan (The 'How')

Despite the change in where you network, the methods by which you market yourself to employers should not change, regardless of the current pandemic. Here are a few essential steps to effective self-promotion during a job search.

Establish Your Brand

Before you sell yourself to employers, you must ensure your personal brand is polished. Start with a branding statement — a one- or two-sentence summary of your skills, work experience and career goals. This can be included on your resume, cover letter and social media pages.

Next, make sure your LinkedIn profile includes a professional photo, headline, personal summary, work experience, job-related keywords and visible contact information. If you're active on other social media sites, be sure your pages feature content that highlights your brand and is not negative or offensive. Finally, depending upon your target position and industry, you may choose to expand your online presence with a website, blog or digital portfolio, all of which serve to enhance your personal brand.

Get Social

While career events and industry conferences were once the only way for job seekers to make valuable connections, the internet has made the whole world accessible to everyone with the click of a mouse. Once your LinkedIn profile is optimized, join industry-specific groups and connect with others in your field who have similar titles or job duties to what you seek. Ask for advice or referrals, and always offer to help in return.

Research companies you think would be ideal employers, read through their websites and visit their career pages. Then connect with their employees on LinkedIn and repeat the process. Remember to keep your search targeted, only apply to positions for which you're qualified and customize your resume for each application. Failing to do so may brand you as a candidate who is always unqualified...

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