Marketing Yourself To Get A New Job In Engineering
Getting yourself in front of potential employers is not that different from how a company uses marketing to get its product or services in front of customers. Finding a job in structural or building service engineering is about marketing yourself and ensuring you stand out from other candidates.
There are lessons you can learn from marketing experts to do this, and the most important is to understand your target audience.
In marketing terms this means knowing your customer, for a job hunter it’s about understanding a potential employer inside out. If you understand their objectives, motivations, culture, ethos and values of the company, you can align your skills, attributes and other qualities with them.
Understand Your Audience and Your USP
By understanding your target audience, you can identify your strengths that are most important to the potential employer. That’s exactly what marketers do. It’s often called the Unique Selling Point (USP) – the key factor that makes a product or service different or more desirable than a competitors’. For you – the job hunter – your USP could be specific qualifications or engineering experience you have, or skills such as speaking a language or managing a team.
However, just like marketers, sometimes candidates get this wrong. They focus on a USP that they think is important (perhaps a qualification or achievement that they are particularly proud of) without considering how relevant it is the employer. Although you may rate your achievement as a USP, if that’s not what the employer needs it won’t help you to stand out. In this case a different or even lesser achievement may be more relevant, and could actually be the crucial differentiator between you and other candidates.
Marketing Yourself On Paper
Marketers use advertisements, direct mail, social media, email, PR and other activities to get products in front of their target audience. Job hunters have CVs, covering letters, and online profiles (LinkedIn, About Me page etc.) to market themselves to an employer.
An important lesson that candidates can learn from marketers is that different customers have different needs and therefore a different approach is needed for each. This will mean that an advert appearing in a printed publication aimed at one type of customer, is different from an online marketing campaign aimed at a different group – even though it’s promoting the same product. Each campaign will reflect the desires or needs of that specific target audience – it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
This is why recruitment consultants are always saying, “tailor your CV to the employer!” If you understand the employer and have identified your USP aligned with that employer’s needs, your CV must reflect this just as a marketing campaign would.
How do you do this?
Company research is key to really understand the employer and their needs. Don’t just focus on the job description; get the bigger picture to see how the role fits in with the company’s objectives and ethos. Identify the responsibilities and skills needed in the role that will enable the company to achieve their goals.
Remember too that although a company employs you, it’s people who do the hiring. What do those people need from you? Your USP might not be a lengthy list of qualifications and accolades but instead softer skills like leadership, problem solving, conflict resolution etc.
If you’re working with a specialist recruitment agency speak to your consultant and get their insights too. Our consultants here at Energi People have an in depth knowledge of most of our clients because we’ve worked with them for years. We can help you to identify the key strengths you have that are most important to the employer.
Marketers also use all sorts of creative strategies to make their marketing campaigns stand out and get attention. However, we don’t advocate using a ‘creative’ CV. While there are many examples of people who’ve designed really innovative CVs to differentiate themselves, they are generally working in the creative sectors and this approach is not recommended for construction and engineering!
However, a well-designed CV is important. Use the traditional layout so that employers can find the information they require quickly, and highlight the most important factors first – your USP. The short profile or summary at the beginning of the CV is the ideal opportunity to do this, followed by your experience and key achievements.
Potential employers want to know that:
- The candidate has the skills they require.
- The candidate has experience using those skills successfully.
- The candidate understands the company’s requirements.
- The candidate has provided benefit to previous employers using those skills.
- The candidate is a great fit for the company.
In just a few sentences you should communicate this and make it highly relevant to the potential employer. Similarly when detailing your experience and achievements to date, highlight those that are most relevant to the employer.
Another trick we can learn from marketers is to speak the same language as your target audience. This helps to convey a sense that you understand them, that you are on the same page, and are a good fit for their company. Look at the wording on the job description and use the same phrases or terminology on your CV.
You can also look at how the company talks about itself on its website and adopt some aspects of this on your CV. For example, a well known structural engineering consultancy talks about making ‘a positive difference in the world’ and that its people ‘are driven to find a better way’; if you share these values and goals it makes sense to allude to them on your CV.
Of course a CV is just one factor in your marketing toolkit, albeit a very important one; your covering letter/email, LinkedIn profile etc. also need to be marketing ‘brand you’ to potential employers. Moreover if you are invited to an interview the marketing job continues – the interview is your opportunity to pitch for the job.
If you need help with your job search or hiring requirements, please contact us today to speak to one of our specialist consultants.