Step 4 - Choosing a Strategy and Designing a Sales Brochure
Job seekers must:
- Develop appropriate strategies to reach their target list
- Assess the market(s) that they are targeting
- Develop the communication devices to reach those targets
- Monitor activities, making adjustments as necessary
Developing a Strategy
Let’s take a look at the development of a strategy first. The job search strategy goal is to reach decision makers in the hiring process as efficiently as possible. There are many methods to use in this effort but the overwhelming evidence supports the opinion that reaching these decision makers is best done through networking with use of internet job boards, print media advertising, direct mail and cold calling bringing up the rear.
Let me explain in more detail since I believe that many of you would rather not network for a variety of reasons. The first point is true most of the time but not all. Not everyone you meet in the networking process will want to assist you but the majority will if approached correctly. Every job seeker must realize that, as in sales, there will be a certain amount of rejection involved in the job search process.
Assessing the Market
The next step is to assess the market; you must be aware of the employment market and factors that may affect the direction you take. Reading business sections in your daily newspaper, researching trade magazines for the industry(s) that you target and browsing on the Internet are all valuable activities to keep current on labor market trends.
Another way to assess the market is to understand that there are three types of jobs available, as diagrammed in the “Iceberg” below:
- Those that are known to the general public via advertising (the top of the iceberg),
- Those that are known within companies but not publicized externally (the middle layer below), and
- Those unknown to even the company itself (the bottom layer).
The tip of the Iceberg represents the smallest sector of the job market. Responding to advertised positions also places the job seeker in competition with every other person responding to the ad, whether it be in print media or on the Web. That strategy, by itself, also eliminates you from consideration for the opportunities represented by the bottom two layers, a much larger pool of jobs with less competition labeled the “Hidden Job Market.” Effectively getting to those layers via your strategy of networking will be discussed later.
Communicating to Your Market
Lastly, you need to create sales brochures, as well as utilizing other communications devices that will assist you in your efforts to influence prospective buyers. The sales brochure is simply put, a brief summary of the features and benefits of the product that encourage the buyer to seek more information regarding the product. Other communication devices are those things that we covered in the Marketing section such as the “radio commercial” and the “elevator pitch.”
Note: Most job search experts suggest that the information for recent college grads be limited to one page while more experienced workers may expand to two pages. There are those “experts” who recommend no more than one page for ANY job seeker. I strongly disagree and base that opinion on years of recruiting experience with hiring managers who have communicated to me their interest in seeing more than a one-page document for those candidates who have been employed for more than 3-5 years. They simply can’t grasp the essence of a person with less than two pages. Candidates applying for a position in the nonprofit world, particularly an academic situation, will want to utilize as many pages as necessary to cover the information necessary to convey their experience.
Since you are also selling a “product” (just thought I’d remind you), a “sales brochure” must be created. Your resume is this sales brochure, something to entice a further look at your product. There are resources available (Career Development is a great place to start) to assist you in the creation of a resume that will be appropriate for you.
Stacey Hills, Chair, Associate Professor, The McCormick Division of Business