Starting Your Job Search Campaign

Hannah P. Morgan

Launching a job search will take more than polishing your resume. It is going to take some serious campaigning. It all starts with a strong platform and a plan to gain visibility.

Your promise. Political candidates represent issues that benefit their constituents such as the economy, human rights or environmental issues. These are the problems they want to solve for you, the voter. Politicians want to rally your support by addresses and professing to solve your problems. Now, put your campaign hat on and make your campaign promise one that solves the problems your ideal employer would face. Through informational meetings and conversations, learn about their projects and challenges and incorporate that into your promise of value--the problem that you will solve for them.

Start close to home. Before you jump on the campaign trail, you want your closest friends to support and advocate for you. For them to do this, they need to know what you stand for. Your closest supporters should know your campaign promise. Make it easy for them to remember and share. You can take it one step further by helping your friends, family and colleagues understand which employers would benefit from your promise. Let them know the company names so they can be on the lookout and promote your candidacy.

Hit the campaign trail. No one will ever know about you if you aren't visible, so get out of your house. Attend events where your voters are, the people with the power to hire you or who should at least be aware of your campaign promise. They belong to professional groups, volunteer in the community, host company events and they may even belong to the local gym. Be strategic. Your time and travel cost money, invest both wisely by knowing where you're going and whom you want to meet at these events.

Your campaign materials. You probably haven't seen signs that say "Vote for Me! I'm running for anything." The same is true for your campaign. You're pursuing a specific role based on past successes. Your campaign materials should clearly identify the role you're seeking and your prior accomplishments. These materials are the tools you hand out to promote your campaign promise and could include a business card, a one-page bio or even your email signature. If you're serious about your campaign, you have to promote yourself and let people know you're in the running.

Practice your speech. Politicians don't just wing speeches or show up at a debate unprepared. Likewise, you should practice and rehearse how you will answer questions until you come across as genuine yet polished. Your speech could be the answer to "what do you do," a common question when you meet someone new. Rehearsing for an interview is equally as important, especially knowing how you will answer those "hard to answer" questions, like why you left your last job.

Your campaigning is ongoing. Once a politician has been voted in, he or she continues to communicate with his or her constituents. He or she remains visible and shares updates on the promises made, or at least the progress he or she is making. Politicians know their term will be over and want to maintain the support they have worked so hard to acquire. You may not know when your term is up, however, it can't hurt to stay in contact with the supporters you've made along the campaign trail.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.