As a Recruiting and Talent Acqusition professional, I am often asked to speak to groups of individuals that are currently in transition, looking for their next great career opportunity and one of the first and most common questions is “Why don’t I get responses to the hundreds of applications I am filling out every week?”. It’s a valid question and an easy one to answer, although the answer may not be what they want to hear.
In business, there are various types of advertising you can use to reach your target audience… targeted marketing (the best!), relationship marketing, social media, etc. The most common and one that is most often most abused is broadcast marketing. Think about the billboard you see everyday as you drive along the highway. Someone has put that billboard up in the hope that a potential customer will see it, need what they are selling at that moment and remember it later. Other companies send out millions of those little postcards that end up in your mail box and quickly end up in your trash. These types of marketing historically have about a 1-1.5% return on investment.
Think about that for a second, there are hundreds of other people applying for every one of the same jobs you are applying to. Your chances of being noticed are slim at best, just like a billboard, radio, newspaper or other advertisement… Yet this is where people spend countless hours, searching for jobs, refining and refining their resumes and online profiles. BE DIFFERENT! You are wasting the greatest portion of your marketing time building and creating the best “billboard” in the hopes that the right employer will drive by and see you, remember you and call you…
OK, here’s an encouraging fact. Jobs really do get filled from job boards, companies do find employees on job boards…. I know, it’s crazy but it’s true. Every day, someone who has applied to a job, gets discovered. HOWEVER, it’s on the very rare occasion that someone with the right skills, positions, experience, education etc “passes by the billboard” or responds to the post card. Or from a candidates perspective that the right employer, recruiter, manager, HR professional sees your “ad” among all the other applicants.
From A Company of 1 perspective, broadcast marketing can be an effective part of your overall marketing plan. But if it is all you are doing, you are hoping beyond hope that the right company, right person etc will see your application or LinkedIn profile and happen to need your unique service offering or experience and remember you when they need someone to do what you can do.
A better approach, and one that I’ve used with thousands of people to help them find their next great opportunity is to target your market, and use a variety of marketing tools to reach your target audience(s)…. prospecting (networking/informational interviews), participation (industry associations/volunteer work), referrals (uh… referrals) and YES, broadcast marketing (LinkedIn, Job boards, career sites, facebook, twitter etc). In that order, those are the best ways to get noticed for a job. The highest percentage of your time should be on prospecting, next on being involved and giving back to your professional community and a consistent but small percentage on responding to current openings and broadcasting your brand in the marketplace.
So if you are looking for the next great “customer” for your Company of 1, don’t sit at home, looking up “bid opportunities” and “post and pray”. Take the time to identify the companies that you want to work for, the industries they are in, the type of company culture that they live in and then develop a targeted, focused and integrated marketing approach that introduces you, supports your personal branding message and keeps you top of mind when someone is looking to solve a problem that you are uniquely qualified to solve.
1) Identify 10-15 companies that use your type of “services”
2) Begin finding “connections” into those companies, ask for informational meetings, learn more about the companies so you can qualify them.
3) Get involved in your industry associations, or other volunteer groups to meet more people, and share your value.
4) Make sure your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter use is targeted to communicate the right broadcasting message to your targeted “prospects”
5) Mix and repeat…..
As I’ve said before, it’s simple…. not easy, but simple. Be proactive, be consistent, be authentic.
Here’s to the success of your Company of 1!