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Marketing Yourself?

Marketing Yourself?

Although most people readily appreciate that any product or service needs to be properly marketed in order to be successful, this fact is often forgotten when people are thinking about marketing themselves when looking for or being interviewed for a job. Some of this arises from natural modesty or being told that we should refrain from bragging or “not blow our own trumpet too much” by our parents or friends perhaps. But in a competitive job application situation, and especially one which is highly competitive, active marketing may be the main way for one person to stand out from another.

In the everyday world of marketing, the four P’s of Product, Place, Price and Promotion (often called the “marketing mix” have been a long standing and successful model for making sure that we carefully think through all of the key elements. Let’s therefore look in a little more detail at what these mean and how they apply to marketing yourself for a job that you want in the future.

Product

In marketing, a product (or a service) is seen as an item that satisfies what a consumer wants. In a job seeking situation the product is you as a potential employee and the question is therefore how will you (above all others) satisfy the needs of an employer in performing in this job role? Adapting the questions that marketers typically use in this category we may therefore ask of ourselves:

  • What does the employer want from me in order to be impressed?
  • What features or benefits to an employer do I have?
  • How and where will an employer be best able to use me?
  • How will employers specifically benefit from my contribution to the job?
  • How am I differentiated versus other people that may apply for this job (competitors)?

Place

In marketing, “place” mainly refers to how a customer or consumer will access the product so that it is most convenient or where will they get the product from? In the job situation this translates into questions such as time availability, willingness to travel, and perhaps even knowledge of channels through which work may be carried out.  Adapting the questions that marketers typically use in this category we may therefore ask of ourselves:

  • Can employers readily find me in a multitude of ways (such as my online profile in lots of places)?
  • Where in general do employers look for people like me to recruit them?
  • Which are the specific channels through which employers like to attract applicants?
  • How much networking do I need to do and where in order to reach a given employer?
  • How flexibly can I offer my time or accessibility to a given employer?

Price

In marketing, this is simply the amount that a customer is willing to pay for the product or service. In the job situation this translates into how much is an employer willing to pay in salary or benefits for the particular skills that they need. Adapting the questions that marketers typically use in this category we may therefore ask of ourselves:

  • What is my real value as a person with my skills to an employer for the role they want to fill?
  • Are there established salary and benefit levels for skills such as mine, for this type of job?
  • What variability am I prepared to allow in my earnings needs to meet an employer’s expectations of me in terms of salary and benefits (e.g. lower base salary, higher bonus payments)?
  • How do my general salary/benefits expectations match what the employer is willing to pay for this job?
  • How do my general salary/ benefits expectations compare with others (competitors for this job role)?

Promotion

In marketing, this relates to all of the methods of communication that can and may be used to provide information to different parties about the product. In the job situation this translates into how you promote or sell yourself in as many ways as possible in order to get an interview, and ultimately get the job, of course. Adapting the questions that marketers typically use in this category we may therefore ask of ourselves:

  • How will I best reach my target audience/employer of choice in terms of promoting or advertising myself?
  • Where and when can I promote my résumé and potential contribution to my target industries or employers?
  • When is the best time to promote myself? Is there seasonality in the job market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of making an employer approach (especially when there is no particular job advertised)?
  • How well does my résumé stand out versus other people in the job applicant pool?
  • How and where do others promote themselves (competitors for the same job roles)? 

So in summary then the 4 P’s marketing model seems to apply quite well to marketing yourself in a job seeking situation. All we have to do is to think about ourselves as a product (with features, advantages and benefits that have to be emphasized), make ourselves available to possible employers through multiple channels, price our potential contribution accurately (and competitively) and finally promote ourselves though a range of communication channels, many of which are online these days.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at OptimalJon@gmail.com

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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