As an international graduate student in a business school, my life revolves around only one thing – my career search. Well, in my case, it’s two things – Indian food and my career search – but that’s not the ideal. Here’s my life at a glance:
Wake up → career search → eat → career search → sleep → dream about career search → repeat
However, searching for a job is tedious and monotonous. At the same time, it’s essential! So, in this blog, I am going to talk about how I make my career search fun by relating it to marketing, something I am passionate about.
I call this the career search<>marketing integration. Yes, really.
As a marketer, I honestly believe that marketing applies to everything in our life, and I recently discovered how aptly it applies to my own career search. Here’s what I realized. In this context, think of yourself as a product. Product = you (in my case, an M.B.A student). Next, product features = your skills and target market = your target companies. You can go on and on.
So what’s career search? I would say career search = launching a product. It’s about launching you as a resourceful hire to all the amazing companies recruiting out there. I personally enjoy the startup method of launching a product, i.e. launch MVP (minimum viable product) → iterate.
Here is my process with my analogies:
- Create a minimum viable product: Create your first resume draft ASAP. Make sure it’s out as fast as possible. Don’t wait for that perfect resume because it might never happen.
- Know your target audience: Generally, research companies you’d be interested in working for. If you’re not American, find out which companies hire international students and which roles they hire for.
- Seek quick feedback from your target audience: Conduct informational interviews, and lots of them! And understand what skills are required to succeed.
- Iterate your product: Develop new skills and highlight them as per the feedback. Resume iterations are key; I have nearly 100.
- Refine your messaging: Improve your pitch to a recruiter. What’s your USP?
- Validate product features: Ensure that you have the right skills for a job. Get that interview.
Some of my other favorite analogies:
- Marketing channels: Online job portals, LinkedIn, meetups, conferences, and, the best option, your network
- Open leads: Any conversation with a recruiter/manager
- CRM tools: I use Streak and Microsoft Excel
- A/B testing: Experiment with your resume. See what works best.
- Field research: Throw yourself into the field and talk to people. I think this is the part I loved the most. I live in College Park, Maryland and went out to California to meet with people!
- Field testing: Apply to jobs!
- Word-of-mouth marketing: Get referral at those companies. We all know referrals are the best means to conversion!
Now, before you think too much about my analogies, please stop.
It’s simple, really.
Research → plan → develop → launch → market → feedback and relaunch.
Or, in startup mode, launching a product means launching MVP (minimum viable product) → feedback and relaunch.
I took the startup route. I did not wait to perfect my resume before I jumped into the job market. I jumped, spoke to people in the industry, understood which skills I needed to make the cut, and then…?