CV’s are stories you tell about yourself. Where you have been, what you have done and how you can help a prospective employer. They require customization to make them fit a new culture, business, and opportunity.
Marketing yourself requires treating a prospective employer like a target audience. The more information you can gather about your potential employer, the better your CV can be customized to target the company you want to work for.
A CV isn’t a single package you carry along with you and give to everyone. Some employers want to hear a different story. A new employer wants to know what you can do to help solve their problems.
How much do you know about the company you are trying to reach?
Since you are marketing yourself to fit their culture, job needs, and industry, information is invaluable. You might be wasting your time trying to get a job at a company in financial trouble, poorly managed or one that is like a revolving door. Conversely, an employer of choice wants to encourage great prospects to apply. You want to tell them how you will fit with their culture and work environment. And most importantly, you want them to hear what you can do for them.
Here are a few tips below on how to market yourself. The more information you have, the more you can target your resume and message.
Ways To Market Yourself for a Job:
- The first thing you need to do is to read their website thoroughly to understand what the company or organization does, who they are and what they say. What do they state as their core values and goals? You might admire the industry but discover things that are contrary to what they are saying. Do they talk about innovation but have an outdated way they present themselves online? Are certain words frequently used on their website that you can apply on your CV?
- Read their press releases and any recent online stories you can find. Is there public news that could help you see the challenges they are facing and where your skills might be helpful. If you have years of experience with managing online marketing, and they are trying to grow through online marketing, maybe that should be a headline in your CV, not something buried deep in the document. Or maybe put your knowledge of online marketing in bold.
- Go on LinkedIn and see if you know anyone who works there. Or if you know someone who has a friend who works at the company. That conversation could be priceless. I recently connected someone who connected with me on LinkedIn to a friend who works at a large food company. The discussion helped shaped how she put her resume together for this particular opportunity based on some fundamental insights learned from that discussion. If you can’t find a ‘friend of a friend’ who works there, try calling the company and see if you can get to a few human beings to talk with you. Tell them you are applying for a job and trying to get some first-hand insight into the business. You’ll be surprised how much information people will share. Employees at great companies shouldn’t be saying – call HR, this isn’t my job. Great employers encourage people to help market the company to prospective employees. In the calls with current employees, be careful not to over-interpret the information if someone is complaining about their boss. If they are open to sharing, is this the way the culture works or is it something peculiar about their boss? One well-placed insider can make a huge difference between finding a good fit or learning about an underlying problem.
- Can you find vendors or suppliers who work with the company? They too might be helpful and giving you some perspective on the type of experiences they have with the business. Remember, information is invaluable. Some few years ago, I got information from a vendor that a company I wanted to work for was having serious financial issues. I stopped going after that opportunity because I didn’t want to get on a sinking sand.
- Call references or people who give testimonials. One client called someone who had given a testimonial on the company website and they learned that the company wasn’t living up to their commitments. She didn’t even realize that the two-year-old testimonial was still live. The testimonial was an invitation to talk to a reference.
- How are you treated as an applicant? Is there any reason to think this is how they treat their employees? Glassdoor and some other online sites can be helpful but not if the business is small. A lady once received an email from the owner to explain the process. It was a company with fewer than 100 people, and it demonstrated a strong signal that this owner cared about the people he hired.
Marketing yourself requires market research about a prospective employer and an industry.
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