Three Keys To A Successful Job Search

By: Deborah Walker, CCMC


Ask any marketing guru the secret to a successful product launch, and they will give you the three keys to success: (1) the quality of the advertising message, (2) the product's exposure to a targeted audience, and (3) the skill of its salespeople. If any one of those critical elements is missing, revenues will fall short of corporate goals.

Similarly, a successful job search requires the same three keys to success:

1. A clear marketing message (resume and cover letter)
2. Ample exposure to targeted employers
3. Polished interview skills to secure the job offer

Fall short on any of the three, and the result is an extended, lengthy and frustrated job search.

1. Clear Marketing Message

The first step to a successful job search is a resume that communicates a strong marketing message. Just like a print ad entices the reader toward purchase, your resume has one job: to entice employers to call you for an interview.

How does one transform a boring job history into a marketing message that results in interviews? Top resume writers utilize the following stratetgies:

* Focus on benefits rather than features.
* Use accomplishments to illustrate marketable skills.
* Appeal to management's buying motivations with examples of    bottom-line impacting results.

2. Ample Exposure to Targeted Employers

Once you've transformed your work history into a marketing message, you'll want to give it as much quality exposure as possible. Marketing professionals use various media to get their message out. New athletic shoes may be promoted through print ads, television commercials and online campaigns. Likewise, to get maximum exposure for your job-search marketing message, you'll want to use several strategies, both proactive and reactive.

One of the most common complaints I hear from job seekers is that they get no response from their resume. When I ask how they used their resume, it's usually 100% in response to posted job listings. Trying to secure an interview from a job posting is like trying to catch a fish in a pond that is ringed elbow-to-elbow with fishermen. To make matters worse, there's a sign posted at the pond that reads, "Due to budgetary cuts, the pond wasn't stocked this year." There are many more places to consider looking for a job-and almost all of them have better odds than just scanning the classified ads.

Here are some great ideas to supplement your job search strategies:

* Networking with professionals who may provide job lead    information.
* Conducting your own target-market campaign to selected    employers.
* Distributing your resume to a large, yet select group of    qualified headhunters.

3. Polished Interview Skills that Secure the Job Offer

All the exposure in the world will not get you closer to your next career position if your interview skills are not sharper than your competition's. Just like a salesperson whose rent money depends on his ability to outsell the competition, so must the job seeker perfect his interview skills in order to win the offer. Second choice still means "unemployed."

Some job seekers cringe at the thought of conducting a job interview as a sales presentation. But the most effective and highly paid sales professionals learned and practiced their skills in order to be able to close the deal. Job seekers of any background and personality style can adapt these tried and true sales skills to perfect their interview skills. Minimally, those skills should include:

* Conducting pre-interview research on your prospective    employer.
* Anticipating and preparing answers to relevant questions.
* Crafting questions to uncover unstated concerns.
* Honing the closing skills that will lead to the next stage or the    offer.

Job seekers who find themselves in a lengthy job search may benefit from analyzing which of the three keys-marketing, exposure, or interview skills-is not opening new career doors. Start by asking these questions:

* Is my resume-send-out to interview ratio low? Maybe it's time    to rethink your resume.
* Am I finding enough job leads? Perhaps it's time to implement    more proactive strategies for better exposure.
* Do I consistently end up "second choice" in job interviews?    Then it might be time to sharpen your interview skills.

Making sure your skills are their sharpest in all three job search keys will help you gain your career objective in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of stress.

Deborah Walker, CCMC
Resume Writer ~ Career Coach
For more in-depth information on resumes, job-search strategy and interview skills, check out the article archive at my website: www.AlphaAdvantage.com