As the lead research analyst, I have a bit of a reputation at Ideal Candidate for always asking for more data. This post looks to offer some data-backed tips that you can begin working into your job hunt

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of reading the endless job search articles on “5 Things You MUST Include On Your Resume” or “How To Create the Perfect LinkedIn Profile” (okay, I’m sort of guilty of this one). The truth is, the 9.5 millions of other job seekers are already doing these things and yet they’re still looking. So how can you genuinely differentiate yourself as a job candidate? Based on my months of research, here are my top three crazy (like a fox) tips on how to land the job of your dreams.

“Crazy” Job Search Tip #1: 

Read marketing and sales blogs

Why does Red Bull spend $2.2 billion on marketing and Google employ more than 50% of their workforce in sales? Because marketing and sales — or smarketing — gets results.

Why this works: Marketing, at its core, is convincing you of something’s value. The best marketers have got this down to a science. They’ve tested who you should be targetinghow to get that person’s attentionwhen to best message that person, and how to persuade that person to do what you want. This all leads to understanding what makes people take action (i.e., buy).

Salespeople are experts on what makes people close the deal. Sales blogs are a goldmine of valuable advice that you can apply to yourself as a job candidate: how to create a persuasive value propositionhow to ask insightful questions, and how to network with complete strangers (i.e., the cold call).

Bonus: On sales blogs, you’ll often find insights on what the people who do the actual hiring look for in job candidates like Hubspot’s Chief Revenue Officer Mark Roberge and Yesware’s CEO Matthew Bellows.

Takeaways: “Personal branding” isn’t just an empty buzzword. Use these data-based marketing and sales insights to communicate your value as an employee. This includes creating the best email subject line, knowing the best time to send your email, and asking the right questions to potential employers.

“Crazy” Job Search Tip #2:

Find your unique selling proposition 

This tactic can be risky because you need to “go all in” and focus all your efforts on developing a niche domain of expertise. But you know what they say: no risk, no reward. So pick an industry, company, and/or product (preferably one you’re already passionate about) and figure out what its biggest pain point is and how to become the best person to solve it. Basically, develop your unique selling proposition.

Why this works: You say you’re smart, hardworking, and a fast learner? Guess what, so does everyone else. What employers really want to know is how your smarts, work ethic, and learning ability will translate in the workplace to help them solve a problem. By becoming uniquely qualified to solve that problem, you’ll be able to explicitly state your value add and therefore justify your salary.

You can see examples of this in Josh Cline’s LinkedIn article in which he asks job candidates, “Do you fill any holes at my company? Bonus: If you can identify a need at my agency that I might have missed, I will be very impressed.” Similarly, in an HBR article on insight selling, the authors share a story about how a salesperson won an account by solving a problem the client didn’t even realize they had by telling them, “I’d like to use our time to walk you through the three things we believe should have been in the RFP but weren’t, and to explain why they matter so much.”

Takeaways: Becoming an expert involves a lot of investment on your part: research and analysis, social engagement with industry experts, and personal/professional development (e.g., MOOCs). But pick your domain of expertise wisely, and it’ll pay off big time.

“Crazy” Job Search Tip #3:

Create inbound job search leads

Technology has majorly disrupted marketing and sales from outbound to inbound. Hiring hasn’t been exempt from these technological disruptions. This has meant a shift away from submitting your resume into a typical applicant tracking system (i.e., the applicant black hole) to getting hired through candidate-job matching.

Why this works: Surveys reveal that one of the biggest hiring challenges for organizations is sourcing job candidates. As job candidates face the pain of endlessly applying for jobs, employers face the pain of figuring out who the best job candidates are out of hundreds of applicants. Joining a job candidate database is win-win: the candidate-job matching system sends employers only the best fit job candidates and likewise, job candidates are connected to employers whose job openings best fit their skills and preferences.

Takeaways: Transforming the job search into an inbound one means that employers come to you. This seriously reduces the inefficiency, friction, and frustration associated with getting hired.

Bonus “crazy” job search tip: 

Just ask

If you’ve done your due diligence of creating your USP, developing your domain of expertise, and joining candidate databases, don’t be afraid to just ask for a job. Like Josh Cline and Matthew Bellows encourage, you never know when someone might be looking to hire. Smart employers will be able to assess your value and want to hire you before their competition does. Who should you ask? Keep an eye out for some of my future posts on networking and identifying expertise!

Read this next: How to Get Hired for a Job in Sales Without Experience

Got any great job search tips or stories to share? Comment below or tweet me directly @ji_amin!

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based HR. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, people analytics, and workplace diversity.
Ji-A Min