Account-Based Marketing for Job Seekers, Part 2 of 5

Job seekers seem to be taking a spray and pray approach. They’ll fling their resume at anything that moves – and that’s it. They carpet bomb their prospect list and hope someone calls them back with an interview. Job seekers are still stuck in the bad old days of marketing. What should they do differently? Adopt account-based marketing (ABM). In this part of our series, we’ll look at the framework for finding the right job with ABM.

Before we can discuss the execution of ABM tactics, we must understand the strategy. ABM is built on the basics of marketing, like the 4Ps. If it’s been a while and you haven’t read Marketing White Belt, this is a quick refresher:

marketing_basics_4ps.png

Let’s examine the first P: product. When we are job hunting, we are the product for sale. We are marketing ourselves, our capabilities, our skills. The key mistake marketers make when first starting ABM practices is to assume every customer wants the same thing. Here’s the product, now buy it! That’s a sure way to turn off all but the most generic businesses – and a generic business is a generic employer. A generic employer treats its employees as replaceable commodities instead of valued specialties.

ABM best practices require us to customize not only how we communicate but the product itself to best fit the customers we want. Consider the average word processing software package like Microsoft Word. We use perhaps 10% of its features. However, customers use wildly different 10% portions of the product; the way a lawyer uses Word differs from how a scientist uses Word. If we were to market the most common features, we would risk not addressing the needs of each customer type. ABM best practices force us to focus on emphasizing what each individual customer type needs.

Consider your own career now. What skills do you have? What’s on your resume or LinkedIn profile? Consider what kind of employer you want want to work for. Which of your skills map to what that particular employer needs?

Once we know what we have – and don’t have – we can improve the product, improve ourselves. Suppose our ideal employer’s marketing talks frequently about analytics and analysis skills. Would we have a better chance of landing a job if we were a Google Analytics Certified Professional? Probably. Suppose our ideal employer’s marketing or product line is obviously driven by process, by quality improvement methods. Would we have a better chance of landing the job if we were a Lean Six Sigma certified project manager? Probably.

Here’s an exercise to try. Examine your LinkedIn profile’s skills section:

Edit_Profile___LinkedIn.png

Start categorizing the different skills you’ve received endorsements for into groups, so that you can understand how to present your “features” to your ideal employer. Let’s take my skills list and start categorizing:

color_coded_interests.png

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a strategic marketer, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the red topics above.

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a strong social media marketer, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the yellow topics.

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a strong thought leader and speaker/brand representative, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the green topics.

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a marketer with development skills, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the blue topics.

One size doesn’t fit all companies and employers. ABM tells us to focus our product on what our ideal customer needs and wants.

Next, we’ll look at the second P: pricing.


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Account-Based Marketing for Job Seekers, Part 1 of 5

Marcus Sheridan posted recently about how little effort job seekers exert in standing out from the crowd. His example was cringeworthy on the part of the job seeker: he posted an opening for a social/video professional and not a single job seeker shot a single frame of video in their application.

Account-Based Marketing for Job Seekers

Marcus isn’t alone. I’m hiring right now, and job seekers seem to be taking a spray and pray approach. They’ll fling their resume at anything that moves – and that’s it. They carpet bomb their prospect list and hope someone calls them back with an interview.

Sound familiar to us marketers? It should. This is how we used to do marketing in the bad old days. We’d spam the world and hope someone bought something. Aside from legal restrictions, what else did this do? We ended up with some terrible customers. The best and the brightest saw through our terrible marketing and marked us as spam.

Job seekers are still stuck in the bad old days of marketing. What should they do differently? Adopt account-based marketing.

Account-based marketing (ABM) is the practice of marketing to the companies we want as a customer. ABM focuses on getting a foot in the door at qualified companies; why prospect broadly, spend thousands or millions of dollars on media and ads, and burn out our sales and marketing staff to reach everyone? We only need to reach people and companies who are capable of buying what we have to sell.

ABM can be applied to job search. Instead of applying everywhere and hoping someone calls us back, we decide where we want to work first. Then instead of making the minimum amount of effort over a large number of companies, we make a concerted effort over a handful of companies to build a relationship, get to know the hiring managers, and improve or tailor our own offering to match what our target companies need.

Over the course of this series, we’ll tackle how to apply ABM to your job search. We’ll look at you, the candidate, through the lens of ABM and give you some practical tools to land the job you want, not the first opportunity that comes your way.

Stay tuned!


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How to take a professional selfie

A professional headshot is essential when we have something to sell. We may be selling products and services as a marketer. We may be selling ideas as a manager or leader. We may be selling our services as a job candidate. Whatever we are selling, adding our image enhances credibility and creates a personal connection.

The reason why a headshot is vital is because we humans are wired to pay attention to faces. We have evolved to recognize them quickly, and in an image, we pay attention to them first.

You can – and should – hire someone to take a professional headshot as soon as you can afford to do so. Headshots are nothing more than professional selfies. However, not everyone can spring for a photo shoot or a pro photographer, so let’s talk about how to do-it-yourself until we can afford a pro.

Most smartphones with a decent camera are quite capable of taking a solid, entry-level headshot. Consider the ingredients we’ll need.

Attire

Attire should be relatively self-evident. Wear something appropriate to what the goal of the headshot is. If we’re applying for a business job, wear business attire. If we’re shopping around an acting portfolio, wear an appropriate outfit for the desired role.

Background

Many people don’t consider what’s behind them. In daily life, that’s understandable, as we have very little control over our surroundings. When taking a headshot, however, we must consider what’s behind us carefully. The ideal is a neutral background, something that doesn’t clash with what we’re wearing.

Lighting

By far, the most important factor in a professional selfie is lighting. We need lighting that helps define us and emphasize our better features, while minimizing harshness. Ideally, we have two sources of light – a direct light, known as a key light, and a second, indirect light called a fill light. The fill light smoothes out the harshness of the direct, key light. We want to avoid light behind us, and light directly over us.

Let’s look at some examples.

This is the epitome of the terrible headshot. I took it in my hotel room. It’s a casual selfie. Note that while attire is okay, the background is filled with unnecessary detail, and the lighting is awful:

IMG_2776.jpg

This looks more like something out of a cheap straight-to-DVD horror film than a professional shot.

Here’s the same hotel room. I cleaned up the background, moving the ironing board out of the way. I turned off the light behind me, and turned on one to my side, one of the nightstand lamps.

IMG_2777.jpg

This looks much better. It’s not perfect, but it’s a significant improvement. The nightstand lamp is effectively acting as a fill light.

I turned on the desk lamp and tilted it in my general direction as my key light:

IMG_2778.jpg

The last step is to do a minimal amount of post-processing. I removed the sprinkler over my head and cleaned up the color with Apple’s Photos app:

IMG_2778-final.jpg

This headshot is good enough in a pinch. Is it professional-grade? No. Is it good enough? Compared to what I started with, and what I see on LinkedIn, this is a significant improvement. I made it with my smartphone in a hotel room; no complex studio or expensive gear required. Hiring a professional photographer would still be better (or even an art school student studying photography), but this is a good start.

Try this out if your current headshot isn’t professional enough.


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