How To Create A Winning Personal Marketing Plan

As the saying goes, “Finding a job is a job.” So it’s time to start treating your job search like your business.

Before becoming a business owner, one of the first things you would do is build a marketing plan. What’s your bottom line and how are you going to achieve it? Just like starting a business, if you begin your job search with no clue about the industry, your competition, or your target market, you don’t have much chance at success.

In this case, your bottom line is pretty obvious — get hired. How you’re going to achieve it takes a little more thought and strategy. To figure it out, you can create a personal marketing plan by following these steps:

Build Your Strategy

Thoroughly research your industry and the companies you are interested in pursuing. You should also be knowledgeable about the current job market and your competition. According to ERE, on average each corporate job opening receives at least 250 resumes and the first resume is received within 200 seconds after a position is posted. With such intense competition, it’s vital to differentiate yourself by understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you bring to the table.


Make a list of your weaknesses and strengths in your given industry. Try to position these in terms of the types of jobs for which you will be applying. Once you’ve been able to identify all of them, you can position your strengths throughout your resume, cover letter, and in conversations with potential employers.   

Define Your Place In The Market

It’s not enough to just know you want a job — you need to understand the type of job you’re looking for, the job you’re actually qualified for, and why you would be a good for it.

You should also take this time to determine what’s truly important to you in your job. This means laying out desired salary and benefits, as well as other forms of compensation, such as flex time, remote work, travel, etc. You’ll use this throughout your job search process, including looking for jobs and negotiating terms in a job offer, so have it readily available.


Draft a positioning statement, or your elevator pitch, that you’ll use for interviews and in networking situations. It should be no longer than two sentences in length. Your statement should be a high-impact, all-encompassing summary of who you are, what you do, why you do it, and some of the impressive results you’ve delivered.

Identify Your Tactics

Figure out what resources you have at your disposal and what tactics you need to use to succeed with your marketing plan. Consider the following:

  • Your connections: Who do you know online and offline that could connect you with the right person? Utilize your networks by reaching out to these individuals to let them know you are actively looking. This will put you top of mind for them for when an opportunity does come up.
  • Job postings your network shares: By finding opportunities within your networking circle, you are increasing your chances at getting hired—according to a Jobvite survey, 64 percent of recruiters rate referrals as the highest quality source.
  • Your cover letter and resume: Build a template for each item that can be adjusted as necessary for different positions. Your cover letter should include part of your elevator pitch; your resume template should have measurable outcomes from previous positions. Both pieces of material should also highlight the strengths you identified. But remember, no two jobs are alike, so your resume and cover letters should reflect that.

Stay Flexible and Up-To-Date

Organize your business plan in an easy-to-manage format that allows you to define and fine-tune your strategy as your job search progresses. Just like a business plan, outside influences will require changes to your strategy, so stay flexible to account for those.


Stay up-to-date on news within your industry. Consider additional investment in your personal marketing plan by attending trainings on certain skills, joining networking organizations, attending industry-wide events or volunteering for local groups. This can be a very powerful way to make new connections and ultimately land a job.

Finding a job is your job. By taking the time upfront to define your personal marketing plan, you will not only come off as much more professional and prepared in any situation you’re confronted with, but you will also uncover your true value and potential. 

What do you think? Are there other elements you would include in your personal marketing plan? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.