Regardless of your level of experience, looking for a new job is like running a marathon. It is the ultimate test of your emotional strength, will power and agility. Today we're going to share with you nine ways you can market yourself to recruiters in order to make the job search process more straightforward, targeted and enjoyable.
These days it's crucial to understand how to market yourself to recruiters - and here I'll be using the term broadly to include internal recruiters, hiring managers, and agency recruiters - as these are the gatekeepers who stand between you and your next job. Without having any experience as a recruiter or hiring manager, how are you supposed to know how to do this?
Fortunately, this sort of stuff is my bread and butter so I've compiled all of the tips and techniques that I’ve picked up over the years to share with you today.
1. Think about your brand
Building a distinctive personal brand can open up a number of professional opportunities as it will make you more memorable and appealing than your competition.
With the help of your friends and family, define the set of distinct qualities that make you unique, and modify this to create the image you’d like to present to the world. Once you’ve defined your personal brand, adjust your digital footprint, your CV and behaviour during an interview to reflect this brand. The more consistency, the better.
2. Research, research, research
First and foremost, research the industries that interest you. The digital transformation has impacted every sector and many jobs that were desirable to you a few years ago might not exist anymore, or pay considerably less. You want to be confident that your industry of choice is one that is growing and will give you good career prospects.
Before applying to any job and before every interview stage you must do some research on the role and company. This will help you personalise your job application (see below) and ask more informed questions in the interview, which is likely to impress everyone involved in the hiring process.
3. Be Personable
Throughout all stages of the job search process – from writing your CV to offer negotiation – you want to show off you personality. At this point recruiters will be prioritising personality and potential over the actual experience you’ve done, so it’s crucial that you demonstrate that you’ll be enjoyable to work with and a good culture fit with the team.
4. Be Personal
Tailor your CV, application and/or cover letter to the role, company and industry you’re interested in. A generic job application will rarely grab the attention of recruiters as it won’t make them feel like you’ve thought seriously about why you want this particular position and how you’d be able to add value to the team and organisation.
5. Be Mindful of your Language and Tone
Avoid the temptation to over-formalize your CV summary, LinkedIn profile or application, and be wary of buzzwords. You want your language to be conversational, enthused, sincere, professional, and reflecting your personal brand.
If you’re unsure how formal your language should be, try having a look at the web copy on the company’s website to gauge their brand personality, voice and tone.
6. Network with a Purpose
Don’t just go to careers fairs and networking events for the sake of it – set yourself a few targets for the evening. Who would you like to speak to? What do you want to find out? Are there any introductions you’d like them to make?
Read: Become a Networking Pro in 12 Easy Steps
7. Reach out to Alums that Work for your Dream Employer
Alums are almost always happy to help people from their university and will be a valuable source of information to help you find your first job, so it’s important to make the most of these connections.
Thanks to LinkedIn, it’s easy to find out whether any alums are working for the company you would like to work for. If they’re happy to meet you for a quick coffee, make sure you know what you want to get out of the meeting before the day. Which brings me to the next point...
8. Make the Most of Informational Meetings
It’s incredibly helpful to speak to someone inside an organisation before applying for a job as they can give you an insight into the company and the recruitment process as well as some practical career advice. If they work in a different area of the business than the one you’re interested in, ask them to introduce you to someone else who can tell you more about what your chosen career path involves.
If you make a strong first impression and feel that you have built a good rapport, ask them if they will recommend you to the recruitment team. This will give your application an edge over your peers as you will have an internal advocate who will vouch for your personality, culture fit and potential.
9. Don’t give answers; tell stories
It’s easy to think of interviews as tests, especially when you’re fresh from university, but you should really see it as a conversation instead of a Q&A. If you tell stories in an interview you’ll come across as more relaxed, genuine and well-rounded, and your interviewer will be more engaged. Using stories to convey the experience and knowledge you have will also demonstrate the real-life experiences that allowed you to develop those skills, thereby establishing your credibility.
The same applies for your CV, application or cover letter – incorporating story-telling will breathe life into your written work and make your application more distinctive and memorable.
It's a lot to think about, but these tips should make the job search process much easier and improve your chances of landing the job you really wanted. And if you incorporate some of these behaviours into your day-to-day working life - if you're actively looking for a new job or not - you may find you'll never have to start a job search again. The opportunites might come to you.
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