Most employers will expect you to motivate your job application by convincing them that you’re an exceptional candidate and they would be foolish not to interview you.
An effective approach is to consider the skills, experience and other qualities you have in the same way brands do when creating marketing campaigns.
Understand the needs of the employer for your job application
Through research and experience, marketers understand the needs of their consumers and how their products can satisfy them. You can do the same. Study the market your potential employer operates in, find out who their competitors are and understand a little about the business challenges they face.
Then consider the kind of candidates they would be most keen to meet. What personality types would suit them: are they looking for fast moving high achievers or steady and dependable types? Would they consider your work experience a valuable asset?
Now, do an honest self-assessment in your job application
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 on these qualities:
- Standard of education
- Breadth of work experience (work you’ve done other than the job you’re applying for)
- Depth of work experience (time you’ve spent doing the same or similar work)
- Working with tight deadlines
- Response to pressure
- Job stability
- Collaboration with colleagues
- Measurable career achievements
- Quality of referrals or recommendations
- Out of work activities such as sport, self-improvement, fitness and so on.
- Any others that may be relevant to the job you’re interested in.
Separate your five highest scoring attributes and see how closely they match the needs of the employer. If you can see a good fit from what you’ve learned from your research, go to the next step. If not, either the job or the employer is probably not for you.
Turn your characteristics into employer benefits
That’s what marketers do with their products. They don’t sell them on their features, but on the benefits that those features deliver. For example, let’s take a typical vacuum cleaner. The most common features:
- Deep cleaning
- Powerful suction
The benefits of each are:
- Deep cleaning: gets rid of all the dirt, making your floors perfectly clean.
- Powerful suction: sucks up the dirt quickly so you save time – get more done in your day.
- Cordless: makes cleaning in tight spaces easier. No wires to get in your way.
- Lightweight: you can vacuum the whole house without getting tired.
Now take your strong points and turn them into benefits. For example:
- Job stability: you’re worth investing in because you’ll be with them for years.
- Working with tight deadlines: you’re reliable over busy periods.
- Broad working experience: you have other skills that the company can use.
Your motivation may be in writing or face to face
Either way, create a powerful advertising-style headline as your introduction:
Five powerful reasons why I’m right for this job.
Then, after a brief introduction, list your qualities and all the benefits they’ll bring to the position and to the company. If your submission is in writing, use short, clear sentences and make sure your spelling and grammar are correct.
Use powerful, active words like lead, deliver, inspire, achieve and create. Emphasize each line with a bullet point as we have done here.
In a face to face presentation, use a similar script. Speak confidently but without bragging and don’t be shy about your achievements. In all but the lowliest jobs, employers are always looking for bright, ambitious and confident people.
By taking the trouble to research your potential employer and prepare a customized application, you’ll already have a major advantage.
It’s up to you to make it count.