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The Old Two Step

You just can’t tap dance your way through a job search


➔ If you hadn’t already noticed, there is no shortage of cliches in the world of the job seeker. While not everything you hear is a truism and although some may not apply to you and your personal job search, many (maybe even most?) do hold some nuggets that can be applied to the real world.

Take for example, looking for a job… is a job. Some may disagree as to whether or not you should spend a full-time 40 hours a week working at it, the fact is that job seeking should be your main focus.

How about this? When you’re looking for a job, what you’re really doing is selling yourself. There is a lot of truth there, but there is also much more there than meets the eye.

Yes, when you’re looking for a job, you really are selling yourself – or at least your skills and capabilities. But before you can start selling yourself, you may need to do some market research as well. Understanding the difference between marketing and selling may help you understand how to get the most out of each.

So the job search process can – just like much of business – be broken down into those two separate fields: marketing and sales. While some may lump those two together, the reality is that, even in a job search, they are two separate and distinct functions.

Perhaps the simplest way to distinguish the two is to look at the marketing aspect as the background, the preparation, sewing the seeds of opportunity. In this case, the selling portion of the process is your actual interaction with prospective employers when you’re trying to land a specific position.

The marketing is your resume preparation. And it’s also your networking to uncover possible “customers” for the product – you. Even informational interviews are marketing – because in them, you’re not vying for an actual position (although it may lead to one.) Anything that you do to further the cause of your job search can be considered marketing yourself.

If you do a good job at marketing, you eventually will land several “sales opportunities” where you actually try and sell yourself to a prospective employer. The product that changes hands in this case, is you and your skills and capabilities which your new employer buys with your salary.

Sales and marketing are separate and distinct functions – whether in actual business or in the world of the job search.


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