The Two Sides of IT Job Hunting: Sales and Marketing

I’m looking for an overall plan for my job search. I’ve updated my resume, I’m applying for jobs online, and I’m doing some personal networking. It’s funny, I’m a Project Manager by profession and can’t seem to create a project plan for finding myself a new job. Your thoughts please?

First, I would like to say good luck on your job search and I hope my suggestions are of value to you and others.

Looking for a job is like selling a product. In this case, however, the product is you, rather than a box of cereal or a new video game. That said, your job search plan should be divided into two primary components, sales and marketing. Sales is the process of you reaching out to prospective employers. Marketing is the process of gaining brand/product (that’s you) awareness, so that others will find you.

Regarding the marketing side of your project plan, you should be including activities such as:

1. Joining and participating in Project Management (PM) oriented LinkedIn groups. By participation, I mean asking thought provoking questions that begin online discussions and providing insightful advice and comments on discussions started by others.

2. Find PM oriented blog sites written by thought leaders in project management and have a high number of followers. Then, comment on the blogs in ways that provide additional value and insights to both the blog’s author and his/her followers. If you are currently unemployed, your LinkedIn profile should make it clear that you are currently looking for a position. Therefore, anyone who liked your commentary (from both #1 and #2) would see that you are currently available for new employment.

3. Post your resume on the major job boards, making sure that you are including the types of keywords that potential employers will use when searching for potential candidates.

4. Do some target marketing. Develop a short list of companies you would like to target as potential employers. Then, post your resume in the “Career” section with the goal of adding your name to their resume pool of potential candidates.

5. If you like public speaking, try to speak at the local PMI chapter or other appropriate local organizations. Even if only a small percentage of their membership comes to the meeting, everyone who received the meeting announcement will have seen your name, topic and bio. Also, by speaking on your topic, you are beginning to establish yourself as a thought leader and industry expert.

6. If you like to write, try to get a column or editorial published on a professional association website or industry magazine.

7. Attend meetings (in person) of two types, those with people in job search mode and those gainfully employed at professional association meetings. When speaking with fellow job searchers, you will get moral support, job hunting advice, and with luck, a good job lead or two. At the professional association meetings, you will be able to stay current with your profession and meet people who may have job openings at their company.

The above suggestions have three primary benefits. First, as you may expect, it casts a wide net for people to find you. Second, these activities provide you with the opportunity to expand your knowledge in your professional area. Third, all the columns you have written, speeches you have created, and insightful comments you have posted are great sales collateral (documentation) for you to use as part of your sales process.

The information in this week’s column should allow you to begin building the “marketing” part of your job searching project plan. Next week’s column will discuss selling yourself and closing the deal.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom and @MgrMechanics or at www.ManagerMechanics.com.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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