Today’s job market is competitive. On average, 118 people apply for the same job, and only 20% of those applicants get an interview.

So what are employers looking for to find their ideal candidates? Employers want employees who are hard-working, talented and special. They want people who are not only going to be a good culture fit, but also give them a competitive advantage to be a more profitable company.

If you’re on the job hunt, here are five ways you can better market yourself to potential employers and turn the hiring odds in your favor.

1. Understand the value of marketing

Understanding marketing’s value and its principles aren’t just important for companies; they’re important for you to know and use as well. Job-seekers who can apply the marketing tactics companies have used for decades to successfully sell their products are the ones who will successfully be able to sell themselves to employers.

To better position yourself in today’s job market, apply these marketing principles throughout the job-hunting process:

  • Have a strategic plan
  • Research the industry and company to better tailor your resume and be able to answer specific interview questions
  • Utilize the 4 P’s of marketing: product (you), promotion tools (cover letters, resumes, interviewing), place (distribution channels to distribute the product, i.e. networking, former colleagues, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and price (compensation)

2. Think like an employer, not an employee

You want to stand out as the perfect candidate. You want to emphasize to potential employers that you’re a different choice, the best option they have. And one way to do that is looking at yourself from an employer’s perspective. By doing this, you gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. You discover areas where you need to stand out and areas where you need to improve on to stand out as the right hire for employers.

How can you do this? Ask any company owner or human resource person you know what they look for in terms of resumes and interviews. Ask them what’s worked and what hasn’t with potential candidates they’ve seen and talked to. Or if you’re cunning enough, you can be like one guy who did the extreme, posing as an employer, interviewing competitors he’d lost jobs to in the past and then using pieces of their proposals to craft a proposal tailored to him that landed him more freelance web design work than he’d ever had.

3. Explain how you stand out for the position in your resume

Employers look for tools to make their jobs and lives easier. You need to showcase yourself in your resume as the candidate who has the skills, experience and past achievements to make their life easier.

In your resume, demonstrate what your past work successes can accomplish for this company. Don’t just list your past work duties and tasks, everyone does that and a lot of them will be the same for each potential candidate. Rather, focus on your past achievements. The employer needs to know specifically the added value you’ve brought to your current and past roles, and make sure to tailor them to challenges being face by the job you’re applying to so they’re relevant.

4. Use specific examples in an interview about how you’re going to be the solution to a current problem

Most companies fill or even create new positions to solve current problems. So find the problems hinted at in the job ad, and if there weren’t any, research the company you’re applying to and its industry to discover what problems or potential problems are there. Prepare and practice giving detailed solutions to how you’ll help solve these problems and how you’ve solved similar problems in the past.

Doing your homework on the company and knowing industry trends will help the quality of your interview go way up. And when your resume and in-person interview show an employer how you’ve used past positions to improve processes, increase profits, decrease costs, etc., highlighted by specific personal examples, you prove your strengths and attributes are the best match for this employer.

5. Enhance your online presence

Employers look at social networks during each stage of the hiring process. In fact, 60% turn to social media to research job applicants, and 40% aren’t very likely to interview an applicant if they can’t find any information about them online.

You may have the needed skills and give the best interview, but bad tweets or inappropriate Facebook profile pictures could be what prevents you from getting hired. So after you’ve sent off your resume, take time to polish your social media accounts. Adjust privacy settings so only friends can see all your information, photos and posts. Delete any Tweets or images that might give you a bad reputation. Update your LinkedIn profile so it’s reflective of your current skills and achievements. You can even Google your name and see what shows up on the first page. Don’t take your personality off your social profile; just ensure they look tasteful to potential employers.

If you’re on the hunt for a great marketing job, be sure to check out the Utah AMA job board for available positions (or contact us to let us know about a position you want to post).