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You may view your potential job market in terms of two broad categories – published and non-published positions.  Published openings are jobs that exist “officially” and are posted within the company and may have appeared in the newspaper, on the Internet, or with a recruiting firm.  Non-published positions, also referred to as the hidden job market, represent a huge portion (as much as 80%) of the total employment market.  These are positions where companies may have recognized specific needs, but those needs have not yet developed into official openings.  These hidden jobs may exist for a number of reasons:

  • Business growth is creating the need for a new position.

  • An incumbent is not meeting standards and termination has become a realistic possibility.

  • It is known that an individual will be resigning or retiring in the near future.

  • A group, division or company is performing poorly and is in need of new leadership.

  • A new manager or executive has been hired to "clean house" and bring in new faces.

In today’s tough employment market, simply answering some ads on the Internet and making a few contacts with executive recruiters may be viewed as the behavior of the long-term unemployed. This does not necessarily mean that you should rush out and mail 5,000 letters in the first week of your job search. You need to develop a balanced strategy that allows you to pursue a number of different channels at the same time, rather than focusing on only one avenue to the exclusion all of the others. Obviously, you may not use every channel that is available to you, but each one should be evaluated in light of your own particular circumstances.

A Marketing Plan Will Help You to Achieve Success
Once you know exactly what you want in terms of a new job, you are ready to establish a marketing plan. This doesn’t mean you must spend days preparing a detailed analysis, but it does mean assembling everything about yourself that might be of potential marketing value. This means considering the mix of job hunting techniques that are available and deciding on which ones you will use to attack the job market. It means identifying the direction you wish to go in terms of key industries and the names of all the companies you wish to contact. It also means establishing a daily planner and determining how you will use your time to best advantage (job searches work best when you follow a fixed routine day after day and week after week). And finally, it means ascertaining the type of written materials you will use for each element of your mix and what you must do in order to polish your interviewing skills.

Think of yourself as a marketing specialist, constantly looking for better and more creative ways to get consumers (prospective employers) to buy your product (yourself). Just remember, even he best resume is worthless if no one sees it. The process of marketing yourself is similar to putting any new product on the market. The three basic steps include:

  • Developing a Marketing Strategy  –  Any effective job hunting campaign requires that you identify the names of your buyers (companies, executive recruiters, etc.).  During the course of your campaign you are going to find opportunities with many other firms not reflected on your initial list, but you must begin by identifying the companies that will get your immediate attention.  It also means discovering the names of the people to be contacted within each of the firms you selected for the first round of contacts.  And perhaps the most important step of all, it means establishing your initial list of personal contacts to begin the networking process.

    Of course, your preparations will not be complete until you determine the best strategy for approaching the various organizations and people on your list.  Do not leave anything to chance.  Proper preparation will significantly increase the number of interviews you are granted and will save you considerable frustration throughout your job-hunting campaign.  Finally, if you are inexperienced at job hunting or feel you lack interviewing skills, consider putting your best prospects aside until you have gained some experience.  Several “dress rehearsals” with your less important prospects can do wonders in terms of smoothing your presentation and preparing you for your most important contacts.

  • Honing a Professional Presentation – The importance of preparing yourself, both verbally and in writing, in order to make the most positive impression, cannot be stressed enough. Solid written materials are absolutely necessary if you hope to get any interviews. Your executive resume must be a smooth, distinctive and persuasive soft-sell advertisement of ability and talent rather than just experience. Creativity which is in good taste is a prerequisite for those who seek something more than modest salary increases.

    Once you have been invited to an interview, you must be prepared to answer the toughest of interview questions, while appearing completely relaxed and in control of the situation. If you find you are successful at getting interviews, and are converting a high percentage of those interviews into second interviews, you may assume you have mastered the process. If you are not as successful as you feel you should be, additional professional assistance in mastering your interviewing skills may be appropriate.

  • Closing the Sale – Eventually, you will receive one or more job offers. At that time you must be prepared to assess each offer relative to your job objective. If the offer and company meet the most important elements of your objective, you are still faced with the task of negotiating the best financial terms possible.

When developing your step-by-step job-hunting plan, put it in writing.  This will help you to harness your thoughts, create more focused objectives and achieve a higher degree of discipline.

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