Career Advice for the Smart Job Seeker
Insights on elevating your resume, job search and personal growth
Using Marketing Psychology for Your Job Application
Long gone are the days when you could submit a one-size-fits-all resume and cover letter and hope for the best. With online job ads reaching a global candidate pool, and technology enabling speedy applications, recruiters can receive dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of submissions for a single job.
Which means, your application is a very tiny fish in a very massive ocean.
To truly stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of hiring managers, why not draw upon the principles of marketing psychology?
Marketing psychology is all about how individuals and groups behave in the context of marketing and advertising. It delves into the psychological processes, motivations, and factors that influence their decisions and behaviors when interacting with products, services, brands, advertisements, and marketing strategies. Marketing psychology leverages these psychological insights to create effective marketing campaigns and strategies that resonate with target audiences.
So, just as marketers use psychology to engage and persuade consumers, you too can use these very same tactics to grab the attention of hiring managers.
“Employing persuasion techniques from the world of marketing can significantly boost your chances of landing your dream job,” advises Jan Hendrik von Ahlen, Managing Director at JobLeads. “Craft your application materials, such as your resume and cover letter, to engage potential employers just as marketers engage consumers. Highlight your unique value, tell a compelling story, and make your application visually appealing. These strategies, drawn from marketing psychology, can set you apart in a crowded job market. When my coaching clients employ these strategies, their success rate absolutely rockets.”
Let’s take a look at 6 simple ways to leverage marketing psychology techniques in your job search.
1. Craft an Attention-Grabbing Headline
Think of your resume as a self-advertisement. Much like a compelling headline in an ad, your resume should feature an impactful headline that summarizes your unique value proposition or core skills. Recruiters spend under 10 seconds deciding whether or not to continue reviewing a resume. A captivating headline can entice them to keep reading. It could be something as simple as reflecting the advertised job title (‘Senior Luxury Goods Sales Specialist’) or a statement of your experience (‘Award-Winning Graphic Designer with 10 Years’ of Film Industry Creative Excellence’). “Crafting an attention-grabbing headline for your resume or LinkedIn profile is akin to creating the perfect elevator pitch. In a competitive job market, your headline serves as the gateway to an interview,” von Ahlen agrees. “It’s the first impression that can pique a recruiter’s curiosity and set you apart from the crowd. A great headline instantly communicates your relevance, and leaves hiring managers eager to learn more. It’s the doorway to your career story, and by making it compelling, you increase your chances of stepping through that door and being called in for an interview."
2. Showcase Quantifiable Achievements
Incorporate the principle of social proof by highlighting quantifiable accomplishments from your previous roles. Use numbers, percentages, and specific results to draw attention and build credibility. “Incorporating quantifiable achievements provides concrete evidence of your abilities, showcasing your potential contribution to their organization,” von Ahlen agrees. “By using specific numbers, percentages, and results, you not only stand out from other applicants, but also demonstrate your capability to make a tangible impact. As someone who hires on a regular basis, I can tell you that resumes with quantifiable metrics are far more impressive to me than those without.”
3. Tell a Story of Transformation
Marketing psychology emphasizes the power of storytelling to captivate an audience. This approach can be equally effective in your job search. Present your career journey as one of growth and transformation, describing the challenges you’ve overcome and the skills you’ve developed. Explain how these experiences uniquely position you for success in the specific role you’re applying for. While this technique is particularly impactful in a cover letter, you can also apply it to your resume summary to engage hiring managers on a deeper level. “The key to this tip is to tailor your message to resonate with your target audience, in this case, the hiring manager,” von Ahlen advises. “Craft a narrative that speaks to their needs and challenges, and use data and quantifiable achievements to help it sound more factual.”
4. Incorporate Design Principles
Design principles play a crucial role in creating a visually appealing resume that guides the reader’s attention. “Recruiters tend to follow a specific visual pattern when they’re assessing a resume. So if you want to ensure the most important details jump out, it’s vital to optimize your layout,” says von Ahlen. “Use bold fonts, bullet points, and headings to emphasize key sections and accomplishments. Strategic use of whitespace can make your resume easier to skim, enhancing readability. On the other hand, I usually advise job seekers to avoid creatively-designed resumes. While many of these look nice, in practice applicant tracking systems can struggle to ‘read’ them, and let’s just say that not everyone has an eye for picking out a professional design that complements their level of expertise!”
5. Utilize the Power of Reciprocity
Reciprocity, a fundamental principle in marketing psychology, can be applied to your job search as well. In marketing, when a business provides value or benefits to its customers, those customers are more likely to reciprocate by purchasing products or services from that business. In your cover letter, provide value by demonstrating your understanding of the company’s challenges and outlining potential solutions. This showcases your initiative and commitment, making the hiring manager more inclined to reciprocate by considering your application more closely. “Clever job seekers understand that reciprocity isn’t just a concept for marketers; it’s a golden ticket to capturing a hiring manager’s attention,” asserts von Ahlen. “By showing genuine interest in understanding and solving the company’s challenges in your application, you’re suddenly not just a random applicant – you’re a problem-solver in waiting. Your proactive approach speaks volumes about your potential impact. It’s a magnet that draws hiring managers closer to your application.”
6. Leverage the Scarcity Principle
Creating a sense of urgency can be an extremely effective way to grab a hiring manager’s attention. Showcase your availability or unique skills in a manner that conveys scarcity. For example, mention a specific timeframe in which you’re actively seeking new opportunities, or highlight specialized skills that are in high demand. “Cultivating a sense of scarcity in your job search is like lighting a fire under your application – it urge hiring managers to act, not tomorrow, but today. By suggesting that your unique skills and availability are limited, you’re not just a candidate; you’re an opportunity that can’t be missed. In the race for top talent, your scarcity becomes their priority,” von Ahlen points out.
- Apply marketing psychology principles to your job search strategy. Craft your resume and cover letter to engage and persuade hiring managers, just as marketers engage consumers. By tapping into psychological triggers like storytelling, social proof, and reciprocity, you can create a more persuasive job application that increases your chances of success
- Craft a compelling headline for your resume or LinkedIn profile that succinctly communicates your unique value proposition. Just as in marketing, a captivating headline is your first opportunity to attract the hiring manager’s attention
- Quantifiable Achievements Make a Difference: Highlight your achievements in a way that includes specific numbers, percentages, or metrics. This not only demonstrates your past success, but also communicates the powerful impact you could have on their organization, too
- In your cover letter and resume summary, use storytelling techniques to present your career as a journey of growth and transformation. Show how you’ve overcome challenges and developed skills that uniquely position you for success in that specific role
- Apply design principles to create a visually appealing resume that guides the recruiter’s attention to key sections and accomplishments, thus enhancing readability and engagement
- Demonstrate your understanding of the company’s challenges and propose potential solutions in your cover letter. The principle of reciprocity not only showcases your initiative, but also encourages hiring managers to ‘return the favor’ by considering your application more closely
- Create a sense of urgency by highlighting your limited availability or specialized skills. This encourages recruiters to act quickly on the unique opportunity you present in a competitive market
Overall, the ultimate goal is to make your application resonate with the hiring manager and leave a lasting positive impression. Applying marketing psychology principles to your job search can be extremely effective tools to achieve that goal. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between creativity and professionalism. You need to ensure that your marketing-inspired approach aligns with the specific industry and position you’re applying for. It’s a fine balance between being persuasive and being too hard to believe.
“Leveraging marketing psychology isn’t just a strategy; it’s your secret weapon in the job search game. In a world where first impressions matter, it’s about crafting a narrative that speaks directly to what employers are seeking,” emphasizes von Ahlen. “Everything you write must be authentic, yet compelling. By applying these principles, you’re not just a job seeker: you become the solution they’ve been searching for. It’s the surefire way to not only land a great job faster, but to truly stand out and leave an indelible mark on your future employer’s mind.”
By applying these marketing psychology principles to your job search, you can make your application more compelling, engaging, and memorable to hiring managers, ultimately increasing your chances of landing the job you desire.
If you’d like to get a resume pulse check, JobLeads offers a review service at no cost. Our team of career coaches will assess your resume and give you specific feedback on how to make it even more compelling. Go to www.jobsleads.com to claim your free review now.