Companies have employed many tactics and techniques to capture the attention of prospective customers and convert them into paying customers. While some of these may fall into a category you might consider sneaky or contrived, perhaps even manipulative, a lot of them represent ethical best practices that you can borrow to stand out in a crowded candidate market and position yourself as a top choice for a job.
- Unique Value Proposition(s)
One thing that every potential customer or employer needs to know is what makes you different. Hypothetically, out of hundreds of applicants 20 might have the right mix of required skills. The hiring manager may be able to allocate time to interview 5 of these. The 5 who get the invitation to interview have to promote something above and beyond the other 15. So, you have to be able to make obvious what value you offer that no other candidate can. This could be a rare skill, a unique professional experience that enables you to approach problems creatively, or even a life experience that gives you a unique perspective or an attractive quality, like resilience or strong people skills. The key is being able to translate your UVP into hard business terms and then to demonstrate, not just state, your UVP in your résumé, LinkedIn profile, networking conversations, and interviews.
Though it may seem to be too succinct and formal to be considered a venue for a story, a great résumé will introduce the most enticing parts of your story, add dimension to who you are as a professional, and tell stories in a concise, reader-friendly format that entices the reader to want to know more. Your LinkedIn profile is the perfect place to compliment the story, tell it in your own voice, let your personality and passion come through, and give people a little more of the back story. Now that LinkedIn only shows the first 200 characters or so of the summary forcing people to do manual labor and click “Read more” before they can see the full 2,000 character summary, those first 200 characters need a hook.
Seriously, I know clicking is easy enough, but we know from corporate user experience data that the people don’t like to do the work of clicking. They have to be enticed.
Then what follows should either entice the visitor to read more about your experience and background, or have a powerful, effective call to action that leads to a connection request.
You don’t necessarily need to entice everyone who visits to request a connection with you, only kindred people. Your story doesn’t need to appeal to everyone, only the people who are most likely to convert into customers or employers. Speak to their values, needs, pains, and culture.
- Appealing to Emotions
Even though companies have traditionally been considered cold, unemotional, profit-focused entities and executives seem to be these all-business, out of touch figureheads making decisions from an ivory tower, the human condition cannot be denied. Even the most logical, rational people are influenced by their emotions.
What might attract a company to a solution may be a business need, but it’s the pain of potential or present failure that drives a company to seek the solution and it’s the expectation that the pain will be relieved and/or the success will be sweet that makes them take action. A company is still comprised of people with emotions.
Data has shown that marketing materials promoting services are more effective when they convey attitudes, actions and emotions.
The key is finding ways to give your corporate audience the feels, while still enabling them to make evidence-based business cases to other stakeholders about why you’re a good hire.
Companies try not to spend money on advertising that doesn’t get seen. The best ads don’t show up among competitor’s ads but in the flow of the customer’s day where their competitors are not even a thought. Instead of trying to drown out the competition in a noisy marketplace, it’s better to be one of the few voices in a quiet marketplace.
E-mail is one of the most excessive media. It can be a very useful venue to send and receive information and documents, but it’s not a great place to get attention. Your future employer may frequently check e-mail throughout the day, and yet if they receive a high volume of e-mails, the chance that your e-mail will get attention AND a response is slim, though a great subject line can help.
The better bet is to find out what else your prospective employer does with his or her days and to show up where other candidates aren’t.
Then the key is to know what to say that will make them stop what they are doing and pay attention. Appealing to what’s important to them is a great way to do this. So, you need to understand what’s important to them.
You can’t measure what you don’t track. You need to measure something to know if and how something needs improvement. Many smart job seekers record their activities. However, not many do so in a way that enables them to see which activities are the least and most successful so that they can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. When you do, however, you invest less time making more of the right things happen over time. Job searching can even become FUN.
The thing is, you need to do this in order to maintain and continue building momentum. Otherwise, you spend time making things happen, then spend time on what’s happening, then if what was happening doesn’t move forward, you have to start over from scratch making things happen. It’s a discouraging cycle, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you figure out a few key result-producing activities that don’t require a lot of time, you could keep the momentum up while you invest time moving opportunities forward and keep the pipeline full.
Instead of rising and dipping from a 3 out of 10 on the momentum scale to an 8 and then back down to 4, you can keep your momentum high, which leads to not just 1 or 2 viable opportunities in play, but 4 or 5. That’s when you really feel empowered to choose an opportunity that is best for you.
Remember that as you grow or shift in your career, what works best will also shift. I know many tech professionals who aren’t able to use the same resources to reach the next level and they start to believe opportunities are limited, or that there’s something wrong with them.
The good news is that Epic Careering leverages all of these best practices when we design our clients’ brands and campaigns. It’s why our clients are able to land jobs others may find hard land, even with challenges like changing roles or industries, re-entering the workforce, or overcoming a string of mismatched, short-term opportunities. Add that to coaching clients on managing the emotions of job search, forming good habits, and optimizing mindset for top performance and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel within 3 months of starting their campaign. We are now booking free consultations for December if you’d like to see yourself in a better place by spring.
I do not own the rights to this song. Artist: The Kinks Album: A-Side of Sunny Afternoon Song: I’m Not Like Everybody Else
Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.
While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.
Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.
She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019, and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.