Marketing and Sales skills in Job search

2016-09-03-13_05_51-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%b5%d0%b7%d0%b5%d0%bd%d1%82%d0%b0%d1%86%d0%b8%d1%8f1-microsoft-powerpoint-%d1%81%d0%b1%d0%be%d0%b9-%d0%b0%d0%ba%d1%82%d0%b8%d0%b2%d0%b0%d1%86%d0%b8%d0%b8-%d0%bfWhen in a job search, you need in both marketing and sales skills.

Market Research

Job Seeker should start from preliminary market research, or environment understanding. There are a set of questions one must answer before proceeding to the marketing stage.

What is the overall demand on the job market? What is the potential market volume?

What about country economy? Does it grow or decline? Are there changes in business? For example, I can’t say that the economy of Germany is fast growing, however German companies actively develop, open new markets outside of the country, adopt modern technology; and therefore job market is exteremely active (even the labour laws do not prevent this). In contrast, Russian economy is stable (or slightly declining), but it is extremely encapsulated, no expansion to other markets, no fast technological development; therefore job market requires only sellers and recruiters to hire sellers.

So this is the first research you have to do, to understand your chances on job market. If chances are small, then you perhaps need to change your search, change your sphere.

Who are of demand? What are the most frequent names of products?

What is the common name for the position you are searching for? Very often, especially in big corporation, the internal name of your position says nothing on the market. Therefore, you need to understand the most frequent names used in vacancy advertisement — and use these words in description of search criteria, in your headlines, even in the names of your previous job roles in your CV.

Then, you need to understand that HRs are not searching for exact specialists you are. You must tune up your product to fit the market demand.

Who is your customer? Where they exist?

What companies hire specialists like you? What is the business size? Where are they located? Is this HQ where your plan to work, or a branch?

Study this and do changes to the product you sell (see next section).

Product, Place, Promotion, Price

These traditional 4P marketing approach is also valid for job search.


Product is your brain and hands/fingers (usually for LinkedIn users). So what are your strengths and weaknesses? You need to choose all your features you sell and to develop a tactic of the elimination of bad habits/ historical records.


Your promotion on the market is your representation in social networks (especially here, in LI) and your CV / resume document.

CV is your promotional material your potential client sees before actual try of the product. Leaflet, brochure, etc. It must be polished, verified and it should be as short as possible with the description of the best features. Call to action: your telephone number.

You can do various promotion in addition: place your resume to a job hunting web site, periodically remind your friends, etc.

You also do content marketing writing posts in your favourite social networks (like this whitepaper).


Where do you sell your product? Actually, this is email or job applicants system at the website of employer (or maybe other website). You place your CV (promotion material) there, in some cases extending it with cover letter (tailored, as you hope, for the particular client).


This is a tricky thing, as usual in marketing. How to identify right price for the product? There are 3 ways:

  • Average market price. Check out what is the average salary for the job role you are searching for (Glassdoor is of great help). Check out how particular company is positioned against others, city, country, etc. So you can imagine what you could ask for. Of course, you are unique… but your employer doesn’t know that therefore he will treat you lower than an average.
  • Your previous (current salary). Depending on country, your next job should be paid higher than current one. It can be 5% for mature economy like in Germany, or 30% as in Russia; it can be 50% increase in USA if you jump up from a software developer to the senior data scientist.
  • You can estimate price elasticity and level of demand. Not an easy work, but it’s possible. If you know that the demand for your profession is higher than offer on the market, than it’s good sign that you can dictate your price.

Sales Funnel

Despite the fact that you sell unique product that exists in one item only, you have sales funnel. It starts working when you sent your promo materials in response to particular job advertisement. You probably review up to 500 offerings each day (as I do) and select 5-10 of them just by name. Then you click each, read requirements and then decide to apply to 3-5 openings.

Here your personal communication starts. And here you need in seller skills. Unfortunately, employers do not understand that (or maybe understand very well) and therefore they build borders (no telephone numbers, no names of responsible HRs, recruiters never provide a feedback, just robot-generated auto-response) — the borders that normal seller meet each day in his work.

  1. So, you become seller and you sell yourself. Your sales funnel must be always full on the top. Of course, it depends on many factors, my funnel contains approximately 75 leads on the top of it.
  2. Be prepared that conversion rate to this second stage is around 2%, so you can get 1 interview per week in average. However this is the initial interview with recruiter. He just checks that your telephone is valid and you are able to speak. If you passed to next stage, your marketing worked, but forget about marketing. Your 4P doesn’t matter anymore. You are the salesman now. Conversion rate to the next (third) stage is around 80%.
  3. This stage is the first interview with stakeholder of the job role (future first-line manager). I suppose this is the most complex interview because your potential manager wants to understand how well he can co-work with you — to understand your personality and how you do apply your knowledge and skills to the business. Conversion rate to the next step of funnel is 50%.
  4. At this third step you get interview with specialist, or you probably hold a test. If you feel that discussion (test) is hard and company does everything to find even minor mistakes, you should be calm: be sure, this is not your company. This is not the team where you want to work. I suppose that conversion rate to the next stage of funnel is around 25%.
  5. Here you discuss finance and legal topics. And close the deal in 75% cases.
  6. Get your job offer.

Simple calculation gives ~800 — this the size of first stage of funnel that provides you new job (you need in 1).

To achieve these 800 you must apply approximately 4 new jobs each working day.


Job search requires skills that are unusual for the average professional.

Other side of job search

Estimations in this paper show that during a year, an average recruiter reviews 800 applications from one person and 799 of them are useless. Just a thought…

My other articles related to this topic:

My invention: how to make recruitment work properly

How to improve your / his / my resume

Job search in Europe: 7 lessons learned

The Brain to rent (commercial offer)

Data Scientists overproduction in Europe