Everyone going through a job search knows the importance of networking. Hopefully you have been out in the world meeting new people to expand your network, but are you positioning yourself in a way that makes your value proposition easy to understand? Large companies create marketing and branding plans before they launch a new product. The most successful job seekers are people who understand the value of marketing and positioning and apply those principles that companies use to assist in their own job search.
In my own job search, I know I have a good elevator pitch and resume, but I also realize that my resume may not be the best document to hand to every person I speak or meet with. A resume focuses on my accomplishments and how my past career successes will enable me to be a success for a specific job I am applying for. It may not be the best way to showcase who I am, what I do and who I might want to work for when I am having coffee with someone in my network who might be able to introduce me into a specific company or industry segment.
In order to be more successful when I market myself during my networking efforts, I have created a personal positioning plan.
What is a positioning plan? It is a two page document that helps you promote and market:
- Who you are.
- What types of jobs you are looking for.
- Your skills and talents.
- Target companies of interest.
How do you use a personal positioning plan? Your plan should be used during your networking efforts, not to hand out like a business card to everyone at a networking event, but when you are having more formal conversations with people. Think of your positioning plan as an organized roadmap that will enhance dialogue, help people think of ways they can help you in your job search and lead to more targeted introductions to the types of jobs and organizations you are interested in.
The first page of your plan is focused on YOU. It contains your contact information, titles of the jobs you are searching for, your areas of expertise, general profile and the companies you have worked for in the past.
- Contact Information- Your positioning plan should use the same header as in your resume to ensure a consistent look and feel.
- Job Titles of Interest – List three or four job titles that you have held or that you are looking to hold. For example: Marketing Manager, Brand Manager, and Director of Marketing.
- Core Competencies - Think about your core skills and competencies. What are the three most important skill categories? If you were a Marketing Manager they might be things such as management, marketing and reporting. Under each of your core competencies you will need to then list key functional skills and knowledge. For example, for marketing you might list:
- Focus group design
- Campaign strategy development
- Consumer outreach
- Brand management
- Business acquisition
- Channel management
- Profile- List other valuable information about your areas of expertise and background that you want to emphasize. It would include a brief summary about who you are and a full bulleted list of your accomplishments or descriptive words.
- Previous Employers- List three to four organizations you have worked for in the past.
The second page of the document positions your job search parameters (commute distance, company size etc.), the industry you are interested in (finance, healthcare, media, etc.) and the target list of organizations you want to work for.
- Search parameters- Knowing your job search parameters will help you focus on the types of companies you are interested in. Are you willing to commute up to 60 miles from your home? Are you looking to work for a start-up or a Fortune 500 organization? Are you seeking a casual or conservative environment? Is there a specific industry segment you wish to focus on?
- Target Companies and Industries- List 25-30 specific target organizations by industry or market segment, whether there is an open job or not.
I just created my positioning plan and wanted to share it with you so that you can see what one looks like and how you might be able to create your own. I have just started to use it and have had more meaningful conversations with people and increased the number of introductions made into my target companies and similar organizations I had not thought about. Click here to check it out.