The Four Ps of Marketing Yourself
Now that you have a deeper understanding of the marketing function, let’s return to where we began in this module: marketing yourself as a new college graduate in the job market. How can the concepts of the four Ps and the marketing mix help you market yourself to prospective employers?
Product is the set of goods and services you offer. As a job candidate, you possess a unique set of experiences, interests, skills, and capabilities that make you a great match for certain kinds of jobs. These are your “product features.” Your “product strategy” is to align your features with the jobs, employers, and industries you’re going after. Competing effectively might mean drawing attention to the particular capabilities or features they want. Or it could mean adding a new skill set to make you a more compelling candidate.
Promotion is how you communicate and provide information about your product. When you’re job hunting, your promotional strategy is usually to show that you’re the best candidate for the position. You should communicate this in all the forms that employers might be seeking information: your résumé, references, interviews, job sites, and so forth. Since each employer may be looking for something slightly different, you’ll want to tailor your résumé and other tools to fit the opportunity. Communicating the right things to the right audiences is an essential part of effective promotion.
Place means delivering your product into settings where your target audience will see and buy. For job candidates today, this generally means using all available networks to connect with prospective employers. Personal networking among friends, family, and associates can help you find out who’s hiring and meet people working in your chosen field. Attending job fairs, professional meet-ups, and networking lunches is another good way to meet potential employers and people who can recommend you for professional opportunities. The “place” game is about being where your buyer is likely to find you.
Price focuses on the exchange of value and making sure the exchange is worthwhile for both the buyer and the seller. In a hiring transaction, price is the compensation you receive in exchange for the labor and expertise you provide to your employer. As a job candidate, you should research benchmark salaries for recent graduates working in the position you’re seeking. Such information can help you set realistic requirements around salary and benefits and know when it makes sense to ask for more. When you understand market dynamics around price, you can avoid pricing yourself out of the market and leaving value on the table.
Executing a Marketing Plan
With your marketing mix defined, you have defined strategies to help you find job opportunities that fit your goals. You have also identified essential tactics to help you take advantage of the opportunities you find. This is how the marketing function comes together. As you work through these tactics and make progress in your job search, you can evaluate what is effective and focus on the most promising activities.
In this case, your marketing success is easy to gauge: you’ll know you’ve succeeded when you land the job you wanted!