I’ve recently been involved with the recruitment of a number of marketing roles. Earlier this week I spent a good few hours shortlisting candidates on the basis of the application forms they had submitted.
The forms we used were pretty standard application forms, with a blank page at the back where candidates can write whatever they like to show why they are particularly suitable for the role.
Given all the roles had a heavy marketing focus, I was really disappointed with the responses that had been written.
A core skill in marketing is being able to clearly articulate features and benefits of a product. Very few applicants managed to do this when the features are their skills and experiences, and the benefit is the value those skills and experiences would add to my team.
A full job description and person specification was supplied with application, so it was pretty clear the what the features and benefits were that we were looking for from applicants.
Yet most focussed just on themselves – their features – without any reference to the characteristics we were specifically looking for.
And those that did manage to pick out some of their experience and skills that were particularly relevant to the roles often didn’t really sell the benefits of their experience and skills.
I’d never really thought about CVs and job applications before as a marketing tool, but obviously they are just a way of marketing yourself. I’d bet most of the people who applied for my jobs hadn’t thought of them in this way either.
So next time you’re looking for new employment, try thinking about yourself as a product or service you’re responsible for marketing. Apply the same disciplines and rigour to your applications or CVs as you would to your latest direct mail piece or press advert.
I’d guarantee you by doing that you’ll stand out from the crowd for the right reasons and get results.