Once home, Matt spent a month pushing out resumes and cover letters-as many as 25 per week. But after applying for ~200 jobs, he didn’t have much to show for his efforts. The job market had changed a lot since he left college, so he decided to dig a bit more into the science of it before firing off any more resumes. In the process, he concluded that what was missing was the essence of Matt-his personal brand. Matt needed something more targeted and creative to advance his search and with that he:
- Formed networks of well-connected colleagues & sent them weekly updates via email on his job search, inviting advice or recommendations;
- Redesigned his resume to feature skills first and work experience second;
- Updated all of his social media sites, actively seeking new connections;
- Created a website complete with skill pages, press clips and a downloadable resume;
- Wrote a blog and published weekly columns on a variety of topics.
Matt was targeting positions that involved marketing, public relations or community relations, but was looking to apply those skills outside the sports world. He remained vigilant on the job boards, but improved his cover letters by including a point-by-point comparison showing that his skill set matched the job posting and, when possible, customized with information about the hiring manager obtained through research on sites like LinkedIn.
He then marketed himself through his blog by creatively addressing a concern he heard from hiring managers-does experience in minor league baseball qualify candidates for PR work outside of sports? The blog was entitled “Nine major league reasons to hire a minor leaguer.” Viewed more than 1,200 times (including views by his future employer), this post effectively, communicated Matt’s dedication to his profession, proactively answering hiring managers’ concerns and providing a sample of his writing.
His strategy was a success. Matt landed an interview with 919Marketing, a top public relations firm in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Twelve weeks after his epiphany and subsequent change in strategy, he started a new job as a public relations executive with the firm.
Matt says he isn’t ever going to let his personal brand atrophy. He plans to stay current on job search trends, active on social media and will update his resume every six months to keep it fresh.
Those in sports receive constant feedback on their abilities, and job search should work the same way. If what you are doing isn’t getting you results, ask yourself if your strategy could use some adjusting. You have to keep on top of the latest thinking and changes or else you risk losing your game altogether.