When searching for a new job, the primary method of contact has changed, so that employers overwhelmingly rely on online methods to contact customers. The parallels between searching for a job and most marketing campaigns are uncanny. You need a strategy for both, they both require tools like communication and the use of specific messages and specific proof points.
Just like marketing, there are two main ways to get the word out during a job search. You can either ‘push’ the message directly to customers through samples, on-site demos, and direct campaigns via mail and calls. The second method is to attract customers to you through sales, promotions, and contests. This can be accomplished through methods like advertisements and blog posts.
As you cultivate your career and improve your job outlook, it’s important to try out new tactics and find something that works. Despite the proven effectiveness of push marketing, it’s a method that’s easy to overuse, botch, and burns out.
The term ‘pull marketing’ may be fairly recent, but the activity itself isn’t new by any degree. It has gained a lot of popularity, thanks to the rise in social media usage.
What is Push Marketing & Pull Marketing?
Push marketing involves pushing your content or product to potential employers. Since you’re the product during the job search process, you’re effectively marketing yourself.
This is the most common job search method and includes activities like:
- Applying for jobs on an employer’s website.
- Sending emails about your interest in a certain job to recruiters and employers.
- Submitting resumes for open jobs on company websites
- Inviting hiring managers and recruiters to connect on LinkedIn
Pull marketing is the exact opposite. This involves developing a highly-visible brand around yourself to encourage recruiters and employers to seek you out on social media, via email, phone calls or request a copy of your resume.
In contrast, to push marketing where you assume the potential employer is going to be interested, it involves activities such as:
- Commenting on relevant discussions on job board websites and sites like LinkedIn
- Creating detailed posts on your blog or writing guest posts on popular blogs
- Writing keyword-rich status updates on LinkedIn.
Why use pull marketing?
Push marketing has been done and redone to the point of saturation. For most people, pull marketing will provide a breath of fresh air to a process that’s otherwise stressful and frustrating enough to have you quit halfway in. Pull marketing is far less direct than push marketing, so it is less stressful.
Another issue job seekers might encounter with push marketing is being too aggressive. If the measures used push recruiters and hiring managers too far, they tend to back away from you.
Keep in mind that different companies talk – even rival companies like Google and Facebook will get wind of someone that’s a bit too handsy with their applications.
1) It helps bypass applicant tracking systems
The average company receives thousands of applications on a single job post. According to Forbes, 50% of resumes submitted via various job boards and company sites are screened and dismissed depending on various criteria. This process is completely automated and such resumes are never viewed by a human.
Most applicant-tracking systems are far from perfect. They are designed to save the employer time by separating strong candidates from the weak, not according to the content of the resume, but depending on how it’s written.
For instance, if you were applying for a job as a product evangelist, the system might scan for the word ‘evangelist’ in your application. If it’s not present, even if you decided to use a synonym, you’re out of luck. Some newer systems work better since they are able to account for synonyms, but a lot of enterprises still rely on outdated exact-match systems.
Since pull marketing does not involve you actively seeking out the employer, it completely eliminates the possibility of being screened out by applicant tracking systems. You are also able to capture the employers’ attention in value-adding ways while setting yourself from hundreds of other applicants that are pushing content towards them.
2) It works regardless of the state of the economy
One of the greatest challenges anyone is going to face is looking for a job when the economy is performing poorly. At such times, companies actively lay off workers, so the number of people in the job pool dramatically increases. In turn, the number of applications for open positions goes up, decreasing the chances you will be picked for any position at all.
Pull marketing doesn’t involve you directly looking for open positions instead since recruiters are on the lookout for keywords and potential candidates that meet certain criteria. In other words, rather than fighting thousands of other people for the same job, you distinguish yourself from every other applicant looking for a job.
3) Increases your visibility
Pull marketing is all about increasing your visibility on the internet, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this is one of the goals it manages to achieve. Recruiters crawl through social media networks and use different search engines to find candidates that fit their requirements. When done right, pull marketing helps to boost this visibility.
If you’re active in LinkedIn groups where recruiters are known to visit from time to time, you’re bound to be recognized by one of them, at least. The same goes for improving your visibility on Twitter, and, perhaps most importantly of all, search engines like Google.
It will be difficult to get yourself to a level where recruiters Google your actual name to find out more about you. Instead, having a blog that ranks well on Google search is useful because it exposes both the content and your brand.
It is also possible that you will eventually have people searching you by name, and when that happens, you want to rank in the top ten when anyone searches for your name.
The great thing about this strategy is that the more popular you are on Facebook or Twitter, the more likely you are to turn up as one of the top results. Don’t forget to link your social media networks with your website for the added benefit of directing traffic back to you.
How to integrate pull marketing in your job search
a) Become a thought leader
Becoming an authority in your field is the most effective way of attracting recruiters. If you’re a name that people instantly recognize because of the work you’re done in the field, you shouldn’t have a problem having potential recruiters searching for you.
There are several different ways of becoming a thought leader, but the most common and effective one of them is by providing content that solves problems. Not only that but actively engaging with the community to get your name out there. You could do this by being active in relevant communities.
For instance, start a blog that contains information that may otherwise be difficult to come across in your industry. Share that content with the community and interact with them. Make sure you update the blog regularly by posting at least three new pieces each week to keep your Google search ranking up.
b) Volunteer more
Volunteering doesn’t just help your favorite charity with a bit of manpower. It’s also a highly effective way of improving your job prospects. Serving as a volunteer presents potential benefits like helping you develop new skills and gain experience in a field relevant to your industry.
Besides, many companies aren’t all about business. They are expected to have a strong social responsibility core. Being a charitable person puts you in a good position, as it shows you are going to be a good cultural fit in the company.
If nothing else, volunteering adds a lot of depth to your resume and can help potential employers notice you. Most companies also consider volunteering professional experience.
It’s okay to list the organization, the dates of service and, rather than state your role as a volunteer, use the responsibilities you had within the charity/organization as the title. Don’t forget to mention accomplishments, rewards, and results, just like any other job. Just make sure you don’t mislead anyone.
c) Approach recruiters
Depending on how popular they are, recruiters will often have information about job openings before they are made public. Since most companies don’t have the necessary resources to get access to top talent on their own, they tend to rely on recruiters. It works as a way of filtering out unqualified customers, saving time, money and a lot of effort.
Recruiters regularly present candidates they think are qualified to the relevant companies’ HR departments. Approach different recruiters and register with them. When a new job opening pops up, you will automatically be on the list of recommended candidates depending on your qualifications, of course.
Don’t be too lax about searching for a job once you have someone on the ‘inside,’ however. A lot of times, recruiters can’t help you even if they particularly like you due to reasons of your own doing. For instance, changing jobs too often, having a lackluster resume or irrelevant experience.
Pull marketing may be a relatively new concept in the marketing industry, but it’s one that has found its place and not likely to go away soon. It is a highly-effective method of marketing (in this case, yourself) that involves having interested parties looking for you rather than the other way around.
Getting started is the most difficult part when it comes to this method. Critical parts of the process can be automated, making it a little more approachable once you’ve established yourself properly.