How a Job Search Is Like a Marketing Presentation

“I have some ideas as to how I am going to approach this and would like for you to take a look and give me your thoughts.”

My response was as usual, “Talk to me first as to what you are thinking and then send me your draft(s).”

The young lady I was helping methodically walked me through her thought process, and how she was going to develop it into  marketing collateral.

I realized after hanging up that a job search today is beyond anything we have ever witnessed in years past. The day of just sending out a generic resume is a thing of the past. There is an entire cottage industry that has been built around resumes and LinkedIn bios. I have friends that are former HR professionals who have hung their shingles out as resume writers, or shall I say, designers of resumes.

Bringing your “book” to a job interview

Part of my job background was in the design and creative industry. There, it was a given that when you interviewed, you had to bring your book (that is, your portfolio).

Design portfolios today come in various forms. They have traditionally been print-based and something you would carry to an interview to showcase what you’ve done and how you did it. More importantly, they are about your achievements at whatever it is you did.

Today however, many designers take advantage of the Internet to publish and showcase their work via online portfolios. The positive behind this is that having your work displayed online removes the geographical restraints that traditional portfolios impose on you.

But, even the portfolio has moved beyond the design field into other areas. If you are in marketing and PR, you should also be thinking about showcasing your work.

Making the pitch

This young lady I was helping had an approach that was the same as a client pitch. Not only was her resume top-notch, but she had researched the company and made sure to capture its logo onto her documentation. She was able to show her PR and marketing output, but also had a recent video she had produced.

This job search approach is 180 degrees from a few years ago. However, if you think of trying to win over a client, would you just approach them with generic documentation, or would you try for something that had the “wow” factor?

Would your collateral leap off the page and majestically inform them that they have the right candidate sitting across the table? If your verbal pitch coincides with your collateral, you have a much better chance of making the finalist list.

You can’t just show up with a resume

The days of thinking a job interview is only about showing up with resume in hand and nothing else, are long gone. If that’s how you think of a job interview today, you are sadly mistaken. That train left the station years ago.

You should be spending as much time on an upcoming interview as you would a major project. Will all your hard work guarantee you the job? Not by a long shot; there are no guarantees in today’s life.

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But this approach, if done right, can move you to the top of the pile.

Making the cut

My friend’s resume was beautifully and artistically done. Since she is in marketing, she created a brand sheet under past experiences showing the logo of each company she had been associated with. Under current responsibilities she had snapshots of all the marketing initiatives she had led.

The collateral visually told her story while she was the narrator. If I were the one on the other side of the interview table, she would have the job. I would want this kind of talent in my stable. I could almost imagine what she would do within our walls if she were set free.

On the other hand, anyone showing up with just a resume in hand would sadly not make the cut.

Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.