Marketing MessageThere are many times where you have the chance to share information about yourself and your job search, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity because you’re not prepared. Whether it’s at networking events, on social media, when you interact with your family and friends or any chance encounters you may have, a powerful marketing message can distinguish you from other job seekers and create a memorable impression with those you meet.

You’re contending with everyone else for attention, and you want anyone you meet, either in person or online, to remember who you are, what you do, what kinds of companies you can help and how you solve problems.

You are the product. You help companies solve a problem; now you have to deliver a message that describes your strengths in a memorable way. You want to motivate others to learn more about you and to know when to refer you or identify potential job openings that would be relevant for you.


So, what do you say when…

…someone asks, “What do you do?” It sounds like a simple question, but how you handle the next 15-60 seconds could be the difference between a casual encounter and a potential job opportunity.

This is why you need to create your personal marketing message, one that differentiates you from everyone else. The average person only has an attention span of about 25 seconds, so if you aren’t prepared with a well-crafted, easy-to-understand, intriguing yet personal message, you could lose out.


What exactly is a “marketing message” for a job seeker?

Simply, put it is:

  • A confidently delivered, concise 30- to 60-second statement that is easy to understand.

  • A portrayal of you, the type of job you’re seeking and the type of company or companies you want to work for.

  • A description of a challenge or problem you solve that adds value to the company you work for.

  • Attention-grabbing.

  • A powerful first impression.

  • A conversation starter.

  • A narrowly focused mini sales pitch.

  • A memorable way for people to share what you do with others.

  • Crafted with the person you are talking to in mind.

  • Personal and not pushy.


How to create your unique marketing message:

The following is a step-by-step guide for developing your exclusive marketing message. Be specific to increase your chances of leaving a memorable and lasting first impression—an important step in cultivating business relationships.


1. Know who you want to talk to.

First, you need to know who you want to talk to. This will help you you share what you do in a way that is relevant to their needs.

Who is your target audience? Be specific. You can’t be everything to all companies, so you need to be clear about who your ideal “customer” is. Use the following questions to accurately define your “customer”:

  • What type of company do you want to work for? A large corporation? A small startup?

  • What type of corporate culture are you seeking?

  • What type of work do you want to do?

  • What industry do you want to work in?

  • What specific companies are you interested in working for?

This doesn’t mean you’re locked into one target market or company, but in order to gain attention and give people the information they need to most effectively help you, you need to accurately and specifically describe what you’re looking for. The more specific you are, the better your chances of creating a marketing message that will be compelling and enable your “customer” to think about who they know and can refer you to.


2. What are your networking goals for your job search?

Know what you’re trying to accomplish when networking. Are you trying to:

  • Meet people from a particular target company?

  • Talk to someone about a specific type of job and better understand the responsibilities?

  • “Sell” yourself to someone who works for a company you’re targeting?

  • Earn a referral?

  • Get an interview?

  • Set up a future meeting to explore employment options?

  • Ask for help on how to position your skill set within a particular company or industry?

  • Simply inform people of your situation?

This information is important as it will guide you in how to position your marketing message.


3. Now, write some action statements about what you do and what makes you different.

  • Demonstrate what you do and why people should want to hire you.
  • Clarify and emphasize your competitive advantages and what makes you different.

  • Play around with words and phrases until it sounds just right.

  • Use the phrases that best highlight what you do and what you have done.

  • Share examples of ways you have helped to drive change, implemented a solution or solved a problem. Some ideas include:

    • Describe your attributes: I am reliable, detail-oriented, creative, a problem-solver.

    • Describe your experience: I have experience in developing social media strategies in Facebook, reconciling financial statements, etc.

    • Use examples from relevant work you’ve done in the past: I worked at a local pizza shop, where I handled scheduling and managed other employees or I helped implement X strategy at my internship.

    • Mention classes you have taken and how you can apply what you learned to future work.


4. Next, it’s time to use these action statements to create your marketing message.

This should be a declaration or question designed to prompt some action linked with your goal (getting a meeting, getting a referral, etc.). Rather than saying “I’m looking for a job in ____,” demonstrate your skills and experience with a message like:

  • I help companies increase lead generation by developing creative marketing strategies using social media. I’m looking for a small company in the financial services industry that needs more visibility in their market.

  • I’m a master at managing projects and can help companies manage the public relations process, from writing press releases to contacting the media to getting articles published. I’m especially interested in working for an advertising agency.

  • Metrics are my passion, and I help companies drive results by analyzing marketing trends to provide information for more effective marketing decisions. The companies I’m pursuing include __________, __________ and __________.

  • I understand the restaurant industry and have experience in food service, scheduling and bartending. I’m interested in applying my hands-on experience with the valuable restaurant management courses I took at XYZ University to increase profitability in the restaurant business. My passion and attention to detail is what will set me apart from others. I’m looking for a restaurant that needs help managing their business.

  • I am passionate about helping people stay productive on the job by keeping computers online and in use. My IT experience includes programming and systems administration, and I’m specifically looking to join a large corporation in the Jacksonville area.

The idea is to create a power statement that will paint a picture of what you do and how you help. This makes it so much easier for people to know how to help you and to put you in touch with the right people.


5. Practice your message and get feedback.

Rehearse many times—in front of the mirror, to your family and your friends, to your dog.

The contents and essence of your message should be memorized; however, the delivery should be more natural and flow with the conversation. You don’t want to sound like a telemarketer reading from a script. With that said, until you get really comfortable, start with memorizing your message and, as you get in the groove, you can continue to practice and work on your delivery.

Be genuine—you are marketing yourself, and people like to know who you are and if you would be a cultural fit with the companies or people they may refer you to. Don’t stress about getting it perfect. The perfect message may not sound as genuine.


6. Be prepared for the next time you meet someone.

Be confident and passionate in delivering your marketing message, and people will be more likely to remember you.

Be flexible depending on your circumstances. If you’re at a job fair and will be talking to people at specific companies, you’ll want to position yourself differently than if you were meeting someone at an alumni networking event.

Don’t be afraid to ask for something—a business card, a referral or to schedule time for a follow-up discussion.

Don’t be pushy. Read the other person’s signals to see if they’re even interested in learning more or having additional conversations. Are they engaged in your conversation, or are they looking around? Are they asking you questions? Are they actively listening?

Be ready when someone asks you to “tell me more.” Be ready to tell a story that further clarifies what you do and demonstrates your abilities and how they helped solve a problem. I can’t reinforce this enough, but make sure it’s a story that will resonate with the person you’re talking to. (You have been asking some questions and actively listening, right?)


Now what?

How and when do you use your marketing message? The short answer: anytime.

Anytime someone asks you, “What do you do?” you should be prepared to share your message. If you were successful in coming up with something that’s interesting, compelling and intriguing, you will “hook” the person into asking you to tell them more—and now you can share your story. This will open the door to further conversation and networking opportunities.

How can you tell if have a good—no, GREAT—marketing message?

Let’s see. If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, then you are good to go!

  • Does your marketing message briefly describe what you do?

  • Is it clear who your target market is?

  • Is your message personal and relevant to the person you are talking to?

  • Does your message describe how you are different/better than other candidates? (What makes your capabilities unique? What is your competitive advantage?)

  • Is your message memorable?

  • Are YOU memorable? (Energetic, enthusiastic and passionate without being over the top?)

  • Is it clear that you’re enthusiastic and passionate about what you do?

  • Is your message clear about what problems you can solve? (What exactly do you do?)

  • Is it attention-grabbing? Compelling? Maybe a little humorous? Intriguing?

  • Is your message short and to the point?

What will your marketing message be?

Image: Cindy Schultz