How to make a personal marketing plan to get your ideal job

You need a personal marketing plan to get the best career move  

People can be very thorough, informed and logical when researching and developing a market for their employer but less so with a rather more important product: themselves.

Many are employed in a bit of a niche. That is a good thing because you can leverage (i.e. be paid more for/operate in a more senior role) your expertise. It particularly applies to management consultants who of course earn money for their employer because of this depth and this knowledge.

However, it often means the core market for these skills is perhaps no more than a couple of dozen potential employers. In some cases, the primary potential targets may be a handful of firms.

So a good general sense of the things that are important to you in your role and career isn’t enough. You can’t just wait for management consulting jobs to turn up: you now need to evaluate specific targets.

Identify and approach potential employers

This will involve using your great market knowledge to consider all angles depending upon your overall aims:

  • competitors
  • suppliers
  • buyers etc

You will be producing a list of target potential employers.

For each target fully research and decide the best way in. If you have contacts with the firm, then that’s perfect: possibly as sources of intelligence but ideally as influencers and people who will recommend you.

Alternatively do you know people who used to work for the firm or otherwise appear well connected with the employer?

Other options are speculative approaches to someone you might identify as a relevant decision maker:

  • Use LinkedIn and see if you can find points in common or otherwise an angle rather than just “got a job?”
  • You can consider in house recruiters.  But be aware that they may be inundated with applicants and may be tactical i.e. only match you against active internal job specs.

Of course, you should also consider an application to relevant live jobs via the company website, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and other job boards.

Recruitment and Search firms

Last but not least consider management consultancy recruitment agencies and search firms. On the plus side a good recruiter will know their client inside out and be very well positioned to help lubricate the process and coach you. They may indeed be highly valued by a decision maker in the employer and viewed as a source of good talent and good screening.

On the flip side they charge your potential employer a fee. Therefore be careful to gauge the nature of their relationship and whether there is a specific vacancy before giving your agreement to representing you. It is not unknown for agencies to overstate this, which may blow your chances if the employer is frightened by the thought of a big bill. Be wary of phrases like “I’ll check with my client”. This often means they’ll send your CV so be crystal clear with the recruiter whether you do or do not want them to send a CV. Confirm in writing either way.

If there are only, for example, six employers on your “primary list” having one blocked by a disingenuous recruitment agency is a disaster so be cautious.

In summary

Making the job search structured in this fashion doesn’t mean being blind to other great options. However, it will optimise your job search.

It will help ensure your next role is the best you can get in the market and with the employer best suited to your skills, experience and career goals.

A note of caution: ideally the “approaches” phase of the marketing plan would be done in a market where people are receptive and not distracted, but that may not fit with the reality of your need for employment. However, right now and in other future uncertain job markets, there IS and will be hiring. Employers might also have a need for associate or interim staff so it’s worth pressing ahead.

We have information and guides covering CV writing, LinkedIn profiles, career planning and much more elsewhere on our website to help with your job search.

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