The Marketing Rule of 7 and Your Job Search
The Rule of 7 is a marketing axiom, but it’s also a really great way to approach your job search. Check out these seven touchpoints for building your professional brand.
By: Ashley Dolar | Blog Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
Did you know that each corporate job posting attracts an average of 250 resumes? From there, about six candidates will be contacted for an interview and only one of them will land the job.
How can you possibly stand out from the crowd with so many resumes hitting the hiring manager’s desk? Enter the Rule of 7 – a tried and true marketing strategy that you can use to get the upper hand in your job search.
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What is the Rule of 7?The Rule of 7 is a fundamental marketing practice that says it takes a brand at least seven touchpoints with a customer to secure a commitment. While seven seems like an awfully specific number, it’s really more about the principle – increasing awareness of and building trust in your brand are crucial components to closing a deal. The same can be said for your job search. When you look at your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, do you see a common thread? For example, a project manager should highlight leadership, communication, and problem solving abilities across all of your professional touchpoints. In addition, the experiences on your resume should mirror the experiences on your LinkedIn, etc. This kind of consistent and frequent messaging can help you rise above your competition – and land your dream job! So, how do you create multiple opportunities for interaction with your potential employer? (Hint: It’s not spamming everyone at the organization with your resume!)
Leveraging the Rule of 7 in Your Job SearchIt’s time to make a game plan that will build your professional brand and generate interest among hiring managers and recruiters. Just like a marketing team selling a product to a consumer, you are selling your job suitability to an employer, one nudge at a time – and it starts much earlier than you might think.
1. Tailor Your ResumeYour resume is the most important written component of your job search. When it’s done right, it showcases your accomplishments and value-add to any organization. You can and should customize your resume for every job posting by peppering relevant keywords throughout your Summary of Qualifications section and your results-oriented bullet points. This will help your document get noticed in the ATS system and into the hands of hiring managers. Once your resume reaches a real human (which is more often than you might think), that’s when the magic happens. They should be able to see a common thread woven throughout your resume. Maybe it’s leadership, technical expertise, or an acute attention to detail. Either way, you are developing your brand right there in real time.
2. Submit a Cover LetterDo yourself a favor and submit a cover letter, even if the application doesn’t explicitly ask for it. This is another touchpoint and gives you the chance to expand upon key points in your resume. We suggest taking a step further and explaining how your professional philosophy aligns with the company’s mission. Or you can simply go into more detail about your previous triumphs that complement both your resume and the job description. By painting a clearer picture of your story, you become a more authentic, desirable candidate.
3. Engage with LinkedInIf you already have a LinkedIn profile, you are on the right track. Your headline, headshot, and background photo are crucial for establishing your brand and building trust. They are also the first thing anyone sees on your profile, even if they aren’t a connection. So, take a second to make sure that your headline has keywords that are true for both your current job and your job search. (Find our 3-step guide for writing a LinkedIn headline here!) Then upload a professional-looking headshot and a background photo that reflects your personality, industry, or location. Finally, engage with other professionals on LinkedIn! Think about the last time you wanted to try a new restaurant for take-out. You probably visited their website and maybe their social media channels. If it looked like they hadn’t updated anything in the past month, you might assume they closed their doors or you might just plain lose interest. That’s why it’s so important to be active on LinkedIn, even before your job search. You can share interesting articles, comment on the posts of industry experts, or simply “like” an infographic put out by a potential employer. Each one of these interactions leaves a bread crumb trail for a hiring manager to follow and learn more about you, all the while increasing the likelihood that you will get a callback for an interview.
4. Fire Off a Cold EmailIf the prospect of writing a cold email sends a shiver down your spine, you are not alone. The very concept of a cold email means that you need to reach out to someone you do not know and ask a question, which makes most people want to run and hide. However, it’s a very effective way to establish a new relationship and get your foot in the door. This is not the time to ask for a job, but it is a great touchpoint to ask about the industry or extend congratulations for a recent award or promotion. You can end the email (or LinkedIn message) by asking if they have 15 minutes for a Zoom meeting in the next week or even an informational interview. If not, that’s okay too. You have already increased your visibility for when an opportunity does come up. For more detailed info, check out our Digital Guide to Cold Emails and Thank You Notes featuring real-life examples and easy-to-use templates!
5. Send Thank You NotesSpeaking of thank you notes, Grandma has always been a fan of minding your manners. These days a thank you note should probably be sent via email unless there’s a compelling reason to use snail mail. Remember to send a quick thanks to each person involved in the interview process. It can make a huge difference if they are struggling to choose between two candidates – and just might push you over the edge.
6. Build Your NetworkWe already mentioned that you should be active on LinkedIn, but there are other ways to build your brand on this social media platform. For starters, you can ask your contacts to leave a recommendation, which shows recruiters that you are a dedicated and respected professional. You can also participate in virtual events and conferences – and then post about your experience. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and your professional blog might be great places to gather professional connections as well.
7. Check Your Online PresenceSpeaking of social media channels, have you Googled yourself lately? Everything that shows up in an internet search is a potential touchpoint for a prospective employer, so you definitely want to monitor it. This might simply mean that you should change your privacy settings on your Instagram account or delete the YouTube channel you set up in college. The Rule of 7 isn’t a magic number. It takes time to build trust, relationships, and a professional brand. While the concept is flexible, it’s a tool that can help job seekers manage the uncertainties of this year.
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