Creating a marketing plan is an often overlooked step in the job search process. Taking the time to think through your options and capturing them on paper will help you understand what you want and how to get there. In this article, you will learn how to create a simple marketing plan.
IT IS SIMILAR TO A BUSINESS PLAN
Perhaps you are like many job seekers. You have completed your resume and started to send it out. While your resume is important, it looks backwards at education, experience and interests. This can be sort of like driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror. The marketing plan is a powerful tool because it looks forward and provides a road map for your search.
While you might not have heard of marketing plans as part of a job search, we have all heard stories about entrepreneurs, who create a business plan to attract financing partners. It tells the story of the plans for the company in which they are investing.
There are two reasons the business plan is so important. The first is that it serves as a communication tool to tell the investor what the objectives are for the investment. The second, and just as important, it forces the entrepreneur to describe the investment on paper. If the plan does not hang together on paper, there is no way it will in reality. This forces the entrepreneur to think through the plan before going out to raise money.
The same concept is at work in the job search. You need to think through (a) what type of job fits your interests and background, (b) whether you have the required skills to obtain your dream job and (c) if your plan makes sense given the current market conditions. For example, if you dream of being a surgeon, but flunked high school biology this may not be a viable plan. If you are a high school teacher and want to move into corporate training, you may have comparable skills to create an opportunity.
HOW TO PUT A PLAN TOGETHER
All you need is a simple, one page marketing plan. It is not only easy to construct, it will be a handy tool because it will be easy to grasp the message quickly.
The primary questions to answer are where do you want to work and what do you want to do? If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there. The more focused the target, the easier it will be to describe it to yourself and others. Ask yourself the following:
• For what target position are you best suited?
• In what industry or industries do want to work?
• In what segment(s) do you want to work?
• For what companies do you want to work?
Consider what position(s) can use your skill set. Be creative in your thinking. You may be surprised to find opportunity where you never considered.
Look at potential industries to determine where your skills are the best fit. Think about the industry you are in, but most important, look at other industries to determine how your skills can be utilized.
Identify the segments of the industry that are best suited for you. Think about geography, company size, markets they serve, or whatever may be significant in your area.
Then, identify the companies that you think are the best mutual fit.
Of course, you have to be realistic. Your training, skill set, and experience have to support the direction you want to take. This is the time to explore what options you have based on your background. Broaden your thinking as much as possible to include areas that you may not have thought of previously. Or find and explore companies that you may not have been aware of.
Keep in mind that the information that you work from, or the assumptions you make, may not contain the complete story. Don’t worry, your plan can and should be revised as you go along.
The marketing plan provides an excellent tool for discussion when networking. Print out copies of your plan and bring them with you to networking meetings. Ask to be introduced to people that may be able to guide you, and ask those people if they would give you their opinion on your plan.
Here is an example of the content of marketing plan for a person looking for a position in the
Competencies: Biology and business background, sales experience to physicians in varying specialties, hospital sales and contract negotiation, highly organized, supervisory skills, executive level presentations.
Objective: To work in the Pharmaceutical/Biotech/Health Care industry as a sales professional leading to a sales management position with a growing, established company.
Target position: Outside sales, direct to provider or business to business
Industry: Pharmaceuticals, Biotech
Segment: (1) Large Pharma companies NYC, northern NJ area; (2) Medium sized companies, NYC, northern NJ area
Companies in Segment One: Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Meyers, Squibb, Bayer, Takeda
Companies in Segment Two: Watson, Mylan Labs, King Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon
The job seeker’s marketing plan is similar to the entrepreneur’s business plan. It is a communication tool that conveys to the reader the objectives for the product, namely, you. Therefore, you need to think through your options and your desires based upon the realities of your background and match them to potential opportunities. Capture your thoughts in a simple, one page table. Then, use it as a discussion piece when you are networking to find a job.