Personal Marketing: Strategies designed to get an executive position
27 de July de 2020
27 de July de 2020
The current market has forced us to rethink the conventional strategies for getting a job and, when we are talking about executive positions, this change has been even more significant. These positions not only require a certain approach, but also a greater understanding of selection processes and the companies that they are applying to. The strategic consultant Francesc Rufas discussed this issue in an online conference entitled “Personal Marketing: marketing strategies designed to get an executive position”, giving comprehensive guidelines on how to use marketing as the optimal tool for achieving an executive role.
At the beginning of his presentation, the consultant emphasized that there are two types of approach to getting a job. The first is the “product approach”, in which the jobseeker says “this is me, who’s buying?”. Rufas explained that, in this approach, we first develop the product and then search for somebody to whom we can sell it. However, he recommends the second approach, which he calls the “marketing approach”, in which the jobseeker analyses the market opportunities, chooses a target group, examines their needs and defines a differentiation strategy.
“The first primer approach is used by people who send their CV everywhere, which may work for certain jobs but, for an executive position, we need a marketing approach with a well-planned strategy that enables us to design the optimal product”, emphasized the consultant.
What is the process for recruiting an executive?
Having explained the different approaches, Rufas then examined the process for recruiting an executive, explaining that the process primarily consists of 4 phases:
Phase 1::My friends and acquaintances
“In Spain, to get an executive position, effective networking is essential: having friends, contacts, being on display”. In Rufas’s opinion, friends are the first people that the managers of any company think of when looking for somebody to lead a new project. Therefore, it is important to get your name out there and develop your professional contacts.
Phase 2: Friends of friends
After thinking of their close friends, managers often then think of their friends’ friends because, in an executive position, you not only need knowledge, but also trust. As such, at an executive level, our relationships are essential.
Phase 3: Let’s see what we’ve got
However, Rufas explained that often managers do not find the ideal candidate among their friends or their friends’ friends. At that point, they enter phase 3, which the consultant refers to as “Let’s see what we’ve got”, as this is when the company starts to consider candidates’ CVs and managers begin to evaluate all the profiles that they already have at hand.
According to the consultant, “phase 3 is the ideal time to apply for an executive position because there are lots of vacancies but not too much demand. In contrast, if we wait until phase 4, the level of competition is far higher, with up to as many as 5,000 or 6,000 candidates”.
Phase 4: Traditional mass media
Phase 4 is when the company urgently needs the executive position to be filled, so they publish the job offer on websites and in the press. At this point, the number of candidates multiplies and the selection becomes far more complicated.
“Don’t look for job offers on the Internet, look for companies with a project”, advised Rufas. “When you find a company with a project, remember that 40% of the positions are not yet covered. So, you have to stay a step ahead of the game and not wait until they publish the job offer, but rather contact them directly, sending your CV and cover letter or going to the company”. How do I know if a company has a project in the works? Study the sector well: journals, websites, trade fairs, social media, newsletters, etc.
What are they looking for in an executive?
1. Know-how rather than qualifications
In terms of the aspects that companies keep in mind when recruiting an executive, Rufas emphasized that it is crucial that, rather than focusing on their qualifications, the candidate highlights their real knowledge. “Managers are not looking for exactly what it says in the job offer, but rather they are looking for someone who knows how to do certain things. Therefore, rather that qualifications, it is more important to focus on skills and experience”.
2. You should be extraordinary
He then underlined the importance of displaying an extraordinary attitude through two key skills: firstly, leadership skills, which involves having vision, a strategic mindset, empathy and good communication skills; and secondly, problem-solving skills, which requires them to be creative and show initiative, but also caution.
3. More motivated
“A good leader combine knowledge with a great degree of conviction”. Therefore, it is not all just a matter of knowledge, but also their attitude and the way they respond to different situations.
4 - Trustworthy
As we mentioned earlier, generating trust is crucial for any executive position, so we have to foster it from all possible sides.
5. Fit in with the backdrop
Lastly, Rufas explained that any candidate for an executive position has to try and fit in with the style of the company that they are applying to. If they share the same vision and style, it will be far easier to get hired.
“When you do things the same as everybody else, you will have the same opportunities as everybody else”. With this in mind, the consultant suggested a set of guidelines:
“If you want an executive position, you have to contact the boss and bosses do not read emails. Therefore, you have to prepare a simple printed CV and hand it to them directly”. How should we give it to them? In person or by post in an eye-catching envelope.
“Executives don’t have much time, so it is important to be able to communicate your profile with a simple visual impact”. To achieve this, Rufas recommended keeping the CV brief, eye-catching, on quality paper so that it stands out, using a bold colour and suitable font.
Rufas then gave a number of tips about the heading of the CV: Name is a large text size in bold, not all in capitals, without adding your address, National Identity Number or Foreign Resident Identity Number, or your age. “We should only include the necessary information for them to locate you: name, phone number and email. Information not only helps them to select you, but also to filter and reject you”.
Bullet points are 6 to 12 brief points that highlight the key reasons that you should be hired. They help communicate your profile faster. Rufas recommended using the first bullet points to explain your professional experience, while the next points should focus on your qualifications, followed by knowledge such as languages and software, before finishing with your skills: leadership, teamwork, etc.
Moreover, the consultant recommended working on a cover letter and including information on our CV about references from former companies or colleagues, so that the company can get a first-hand insight into other professionals’ opinions of the candidate.