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Use Marketing Techniques to Land Your Next Job

Use Marketing Techniques to Land Your Next Job

    Do these lines from job applications sound familiar to you?

    “I want to develop my skills in interpersonal communication…”

    “My objective is to gain experience in the industry…”

    “I have a strong work ethic and I enjoy teamwork…”

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    This is how the typical applicant goes about presenting themselves to prospective employers, both in their letters and during the interview – if they get that far. Most applicants make the mistake of thinking that it’s all about them, and career advisers and how-to articles around the world reinforce this point of view.

    Getting a job is really a marketing challenge; you have to reach and sell to your target audience. It’s not about you at all – it’s all about how you can help the prospective employer to achieve their goals. They don’t care what your objectives are and what skills you want to develop, and they know talk about your work ethic and love for teamwork is pretty much obligatory – and if you’re a lazy worker who hates teamwork, they know you’re not going to come out and say it.

    So how do you land your next job while all your competitors for the position are sending in autobiographies?

    1. Research your target market

    The most important step in any marketing process is research, and the most important research is conducted finding out about your target market. In this stage, discover everything you can about your potential employer; information about the company, information about the director or the people in the department most likely to interview you, information about the location, information about their clients. Anything you can find can and will help you, and the deeper you go the better – you can almost guarantee that none of the other applicants will have this advantage.

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    Call clients, search media archives, use the internet, even just a read through of the company’s website is better than going in blind. Knowing the names and ages of your interviewer’s children is probably getting pretty close to stalking, though, unless they advertise it on the web for some reason – know where to draw the line.

    There are two things you want to get from this process. The secondary goal is to gain incidental knowledge that’ll enable you to quickly develop rapport with individuals you’ll be talking to, thanks to your attention to detail. Details that nobody else is mentioning. In any competitive environment, standing out as unique (for good reasons) is a huge benefit – yet everyone insists on doing the same old thing.

    The primary goal, though, is to find out what these guys want. As a business, their imperative is to make more money, but the research allows you to find supporting motives to include in your pitch and reinforce it.

    2. Form a pitch that sells them the benefits

    Take your research and write a letter that, instead of focusing on what you want and how many courses you’ve done, sells yourself as the perfect fit for what they need – how you can make them more money or achieve other goals. In marketing this is frequently called benefits over features, which essentially means that when you explain how something can benefit someone’s life instead of simply listing the things it can do, you will be able to sell it much more easily. The latter provides the potential customer with an idea of what the product is; the former has the customer imagining how great it would be to have the product and plants the seeds of desire.

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    The company is looking for a user interface designer for their e-commerce site. Their main reason for doing this is because conversions are low and they need to make more sales. Instead of telling them this:

    Since finishing my training in web design at XYZ University, I have designed online user interfaces for many clients across the globe. I believe I’m a perfect fit for your needs.

    You might say:

    I have consistently been able to design e-commerce user interfaces that have resulted in a higher conversion rate than previous iterations in all cases and online shops using my designs have conversion rates over 5% higher than the industry average.

    While the example text itself isn’t very polished, the difference in viewpoints is clear: don’t tell them what you’ve done, but what you’re going to do for them.

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    3. Build a Relationship with the Client

    In this case, your potential employer is the client. In the first marketing class I took at university, after the lecturer had finished introducing himself and giving the obligatory life story, he said: Marketing can be defined as building a relationship with your customer.

    While I don’t think the man did much with his own advice, that definition has always stuck with me partly because it explained many of my own past, seemingly accidental successes up to that point, and partly because it allowed me to achieve new ones. The single best way to achieve what you need or want to achieve is to build a relationship with someone who can assist you.

    This is where some of that research you did – without stalking – can come in handy, but facts aside, you need to be genuine and honest and make an effort to communicate not as interviewee to interviewer, but human to human. It’s the human connections that make the biggest difference.

    You might not get every single job you ever apply to just by using this strategy. One thing I can tell you is that you’ll be having far more applications resulting in interviews and interviews resulting in new jobs than before – start measuring your conversion rate!

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    More by this author

    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Published on May 18, 2021

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

    The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

    Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

    Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

    There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

    Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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    Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

    We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

    Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

    A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

    The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

    Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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    Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

    Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

    Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

    While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

    Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

    These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

    Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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    Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

    Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

    Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

    Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

    Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

    Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

    As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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    This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

    Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

    Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

    These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

    Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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    Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

    More Tips Improving Listening Skills

    Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

    Reference

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