This article originally appeared on Monster.
If you’re feeling directionless, mastering these key elements will help you get to your job-search destination.
The job search can feel like an epic journey with dozens of twists and turns that keep you awake at night. Enough of the roundabout—it’s time to put a stop to your on-again-off-again job hunting and lay down some concrete steps that actually lead somewhere.
Marketing has what’s known as the 5 Ps—product, price, promotion, place, and people—that serve as a strategy. Job hunting is similar to a marketing project, only this time the P words are positioning, process, and persistence, followed closely by presentation and personality. The product, you, comprises of all of the above.
Let’s take a look at how to design and execute this job-search strategy.
Before you start applying to jobs, you need to identify what makes you valuable to an employer. This means putting together a unique value proposition that distinguishes you from other job seekers in your field. That said, what value you bring depends on the job you’re applying for, says Atlanta career coach Hallie Crawford. Therefore, “pay close attention to the job requirements that are listed in the job posting,” says Crawford. Then, assess how your skills and professional experience make you a great fit for the position.
Rather than applying to dozens of job postings, focus on openings at companies that you admire, advises Anne Marie Segal, a Stamford, Connecticut-based executive coach. “Applying to every single job posting you see can be a big-time suck,” Segal says. Plus, the better the match between you and the company, the greater the likelihood of the employer showing an interest in you.
Create a list of your target employers and then do your homework. Find out what these companies specialize in, who their competitors are, and what their goals are. Doing so will give you the kind of intel you need to impress a hiring manager.
Job hunting is a marathon—not a sprint. Indeed, even top talent can spend six months to a year job hunting (or longer, depending on how tight the industry is) before they land an offer. So, to power through a job search, you need stamina—a lot of it.
The trick to staying motivated? Set small, achievable goals in your job search that will give you a sense of progress. For example, attending at least one networking event a month is a realistic goal that would help you forge valuable relationships in your industry, and leveraging these relationships, later on, could help you land job interviews.
One of the best ways to prove your worth to a prospective employer is by preparing an elevator pitch to deliver at job interviews. Unfortunately, many job seekers make the mistake of tooting their own horn without providing concrete examples of how they can apply their skills to improve the prospective employer’s business.
For instance, “if you’re in marketing, don’t just say one of your biggest skills is content marketing,” says Hannah Wright, a digital marketer at FormAssembly, founder of SaaS Design. “Instead, say that you can grow their website’s blog traffic, explain how you’d do that, and then tell them about that one time you doubled a company’s traffic in a year.” Pro tip: Use numbers to quantify your achievements.
Practice your pitch in front of the mirror in order to get comfortable with delivery. Or, even better, record a video of yourself so that you can also assess your body language. Your nonverbal cues—mainly your eye contact, hand motions, posture, and tone of voice—are critical during a job interview.
It’s important to show job interviewers who you are as a person—not just a professional. After all, no one hires on the basis of credentials alone. In fact, many employers ask job candidates to describe their personality.