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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2007

Just Do It

BY KEVIN DONLIN
CTW FEATURES

A job search is like an advertising campaign. To be successful, you must try to sell yourself to employers and convince them to buy by hiring you.

When it comes to advertising yourself, you can learn a lot by emulating copywriters, the people who write the words that persuade other people to buy.

Among the best copywriters, it s a rule of thumb that three factors largely determine the success of any sales letter. They are, in order:

1. The List the people you communicate with or mail to

2. The Offer what you want prospects to say yes to, including the price, payment terms and perceived value of your goods or services

3. The Creative the actual sales letter, which includes the copy, graphics and packaging

By adapting these 3 factors to your job search, you can gain new insights and a new job.

Here s how to think of your campaign like an advertising copywriter.

The List

Contacts are paramount. The more people who know you and look upon you with favor the bigger your list of qualified prospects the faster you will get hired.

Think of it this way. If your daughter is a Girl Scout and asks you to buy a box of cookies, guess what? You re going to buy. Why? You are No. 1 on her prospective-customer list. More than anyone else, you know your daughter. You trust her, and you want her to do well.

Let s switch to your job search. Who s No. 1 on your prospective employer list? And how many people know you, trust you and want you to do well in your career?

You can t improve what you don t measure, so your first step is to write down the names of everyone in your network. If you re average, you should come up with 200-250 names.

Make a plan to contact 10 people per day for the next 30 days. Let each of them know exactly what kind of job and employer you re looking for. At the end of each conversation, ask, Can you suggest someone else I might talk to?

Doing this will make positive impressions on the people you know and systematically expand the size of your network your list at the same time.

Repeat until hired.

The Offer

The second key factor in job-search success is your offer. What are you offering to do for employers and at what salary? The more attractive your offer, the better off you ll be.

In advertising, one of the best offers is, Send no money now; we ll bill you later. Now, if you wrote in your cover letter, Pay me no salary now I ll bill you later, you d get lots of calls. It s an attractive offer, but it s not in your best interest, financially.

Still, let s run with this idea. What if you revised your cover letter to include examples of how much money you have made or saved for employers? What if your offer was this: I am a bargain. I consistently make or save far more money than I get paid in salary.

What if you backed up your claims with specific dollars? Do you think that kind of offer might convince a few hiring managers to call you? You bet!

The Creative

Your creative includes your r sum s and cover letters, of course. But it also includes every word you say while networking and in interviews, as well as your packaging: the clothes you wear, your grooming and how you interact with others.

Pretty much everything you write, say or do after getting out of bed each day can affect how quickly you get hired. It all adds up to form your employment creative. Everything counts! Act accordingly.

OK. I ve outlined three advertising-success factors that you can borrow and adapt to conduct your campaign for a job. Don t stop here. What other sales, marketing and advertising ideas can you borrow today and use to get hired tomorrow?

Kevin Donlin, owner of Edina, Minn.-based Guaranteed R sum s, frequently writes about best practices in job hunting.

Copyright CTW Features



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