The Power of “Pull Marketing” in Your Job Search

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

When you’re searching for a new job, would you rather be “chasing after employers,” or would you rather have employers “chasing after you?” The answer is quite obvious – given a choice, you’d much rather have employers chasing after you! Is this some fantasy or “pipe dream?” No, the choice is yours, and you can make this experience a reality. You really can conduct your job search in such a way that employers get very interested in you and take the first step by reaching out to you.

Consider all the standard, traditional methods of marketing yourself in the job search world: sending-out resumes, applying for jobs on the internet, attending job fairs, posting your resume online, calling employers, even networking. All of these actions, collectively, fall under the heading “Push Marketing.” This is because you’re “pushing” your message to the employment world, fighting for attention and hoping that someone will take notice. Even if you do make contact, you’ll still have to “convince” the employer of your worthiness.

I recently participated in a teleseminar with author Seth Godin, and here’s what he said, “There are only two ways to get a job: either you go knocking or people come asking. To get people asking, you should do work that is unique, remarkable and generous. The goal is to demonstrate complete mastery of what you want to do for a living. Get 1,000 people to know, trust and refer you.”

Mr. Godin’s comments elicit a concept that I call “Pull Marketing,” in that his recommended strategies effectively “pull” employers and recruiters to you. These influential people learn about you indirectly – via word-of-mouth, on social media, from an article you wrote or a talk you gave. In this case, you’re already “pre-approved” by companies and recruiters. The fact that they contacted you, and you didn’t contact them, makes all the difference! Now, you’re perceived as an expert; not merely as a candidate. You won’t have to “sell them” on your qualifications or value – they’re already convinced.

There’s an old saying in the sales field: “Nobody likes to be sold; but everybody likes to buy.” In the employment world, this means that when you make initial contact with hiring managers and “sell them” on your qualifications, they’ll often tend to feel “pushed” away. Again, this is the downside of “Push Marketing.” But when employers discover your expertise, credibility and visibility “on their own,” they’ll tend to feel “pulled” toward you – and even pursue you in many cases. This is a primary benefit of “Pull Marketing.”

YOU can be known as an expert too. The process begins with a shift in attitude, assumptions and behavior. For many years, I’ve been teaching my career coaching clients to:

  • Stop acting like an applicant, and start acting more like an expert
  • Stop behaving like a candidate, and start behaving like a consultant
  • Stop being a job seeker, and start being a problem solver
  • Stop making it all about you/your needs, and start making it all about them/their needs

Once this change in approach is implemented, job search results also make a major change – for the better! There is simply no comparison between the job seeker in the “expert” mind-set and the job seeker with the “applicant” mind-set.

The key word, of course, is “expert.” Employers ALWAYS need experts and solution providers; they certainly don’t need more applicants or candidates. The expert offers something; the applicant wants something. Every company has problems, so there are always opportunities for problem solvers who can apply their expertise. Companies love to hire experts. They feel that they “got a great deal” and “landed a big fish” when they hire an expert. By positioning yourself as an expert, you can distinguish yourself from all other candidates. You’ll elevate your status to a higher level, and become far more attractive to hiring managers. You’ll pull employers and recruiters to you like a magnet, rather than having to push yourself to them.

So, the question is – how do you distinguish yourself as an expert? Well, think about the experts (in any field or niche) whom you have encountered. What did they do, or what qualities did they possess, that made you perceive them as experts? Was it their advanced educational credentials or their years of exceptional experience? Had they established their names by writing articles or books? Were they invited to make presentations or deliver lectures? Were they recipients of impressive honors and awards? Or was it a combination of many of these attributes?

My career coaching clients have often said, “But I’m out of work. I’m just another job seeker. How can I position myself as an expert when I’m in this situation?” There is actually no correlation between your “expert status” and your employment situation. Again, it’s a matter of attitude and assumptions – and confidence. Whether you lost your job yesterday, last month or last year, you still have the same professional experience, accomplishments and trade-skills that you had before you were let go, right? There’s no difference, except for the fact that you don’t happen to be working at your most recent employer any more.

Other clients have said, “But I’m not an expert at anything. I was just doing my job!” Really!? Why do so many accomplished professionals place so little worth on their years of effort and significant contributions? It is extremely important that every working person take stock of their contributions and recognize their own value, now and forever!

I believe that everyone is an expert at something. You can’t work for 10, 20, 30 or more years and not develop expertise at something. What about YOU? Where’s your expertise? Where do you excel? At what types of tasks are you the best? For what work-related tasks have you received recognition or praise? Where do you shine at work? Answer these questions, and you’ll discover your own expertise.

After you identify your areas of expertise, it is vital that you articulate your value by letting others know about it. Career clients have said, “But I don’t like to brag or boast. I feel like I’m puffing myself up when I talk about my achievements.” Well, if you don’t talk about your achievements, who will? If you don’t tell employers and recruiters about your accomplishments and expertise, how can they recognize your superior qualifications and ultimately hire you?

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” This sentiment is especially true in the context of job search. If you can shape the perception of others and have them believe you are an expert, then you are an expert! This is not about lying or “stretching the truth.” As I stated above, the objective is simply to articulate the value that you genuinely offer. When you can back-up your claims with solid accomplishment stories and proven, tangible results, there can be no argument about your expert status.

As a job seeker who is determined to distinguish yourself as an expert, you’ll need to “go above and beyond” the normal scope of job seeker activities and documents in order to shift others’ perception of you, from job seeker to expert. Here are some specific strategies to build your visibility and credibility in your marketplace — and to position yourself effectively as an expert:

  • Conduct presentations, seminars, workshops, teleseminars and webinars
  • Write and publish articles, blogs, booklets, white papers, special reports, or even books
  • Assume leadership positions in professional associations and organizations
  • Develop a presence on social media across multiple platforms that is positive, consistent and compelling
  • Continue building your online persona by consistently engaging with others, posting comments, running online groups, etc.
  • Do something noteworthy in your industry or community, which may garner special recognition
  • Enter yourself into professional contests or competitions where you have a reasonable chance of winning an award or being honored

The best plan, of course, would be to do all of these things – but probably not all at the same time. These activities will require a good deal of extra effort and time “up front,” but the results will be worth it! In the long run, you’ll find that “Pull Marketing” is far more easy and efficient than the laborious, frustrating techniques of “Push Marketing.” And don’t think that these strategies need only be conducted while you’re in career transition. The savvy, successful professional maintains “Pull Marketing” behaviors THROUGHOUT his or her career, regardless of employment status.

If you take these suggestions seriously and consistently implement these strategies, you’ll demonstrate the “mastery” that Seth Godin talks about and clearly distinguish yourself as an expert. You’ll have “an army” of people knowing, trusting and referring you. You’ll leverage the best of “Pull Marketing” and you’ll no longer have to rely on outmoded, exhausting “Push Marketing” methods. You’ll have greater control over the entire hiring process. Employers and recruiters will be “chasing after you” instead of you “chasing after them.” Best of all, you may never have to look for another job in your life!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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