UPDATED ON 12/27/2021
No one wants to be treated as a thing, but we need to market ourselves like one to be considered human.
I had a dynamic conversation with a friend from college the other week.
We were discussing the possibly of me hosting a resume webinar for our alumni chapter when I popped the word, “product”. All of a sudden, he got totally worked up, and soon, we started deliberating on the difference in attitude between hiring managers and job candidates.
My friend protested, “That’s just it. It seems that for the last few years, people are seen more and more like over-the-counter products to fit into [the recruiters’] checklists. We’re rarely seen as human beings.”
To that, I do agree. What I do not agree with is how candidates usually perceive the word, “product”, and need to view it from a more constructive, engaging angle.
Let’s step into the recruiters’ shoes for a minute.
We have a position open and we need to fill it. We write a job description with a list of requirements. We then post it online.
Now, we wait.
At least a few hours later, applications and resumes start trickling into our system.
We open the files and start to read.
Freeze! Return to the shoes of a job candidate.
Who are we to the recruiters at this point?
Are we not just a piece of paper to them right now?
Recruiters may or may not know the position very well, so how would he or she know whom the top candidates would be? By comparing the piece of paper to the requirements and checking off the checklist.
So before recruiters can talk to the candidate, the candidate is just a piece of paper, a nonliving object.
And what are also nonliving objects? Products. Not human beings.
Be the CEO
But we, the people applying for jobs, are human beings. Not objects.
Then we need to convince recruiters that we are humans.
Now, I know that’s rather cold of me to say that recruiters see us as objects. In fact, some recruiters I have direct contact with are actually quite compassionate. Nonetheless, what can we expect when they are learning about us off a piece of paper or an online profile?
So how do we change their view of us?
Like many of our loved ones, including mentors, may say, “You are the CEO of you.”
If we act like CEOs of ourselves, then don’t we view ourselves as objects — as companies — with that statement? In turn, aren’t we products of our own creation?
Let me repeat. We are the CEOs of us, a product.
And when we act as CEOs of a product, what do we need to think about?
Strategies for the design, the development, the operations, and the marketing of our product come to mind.
Usually, by the time we apply for a job, we have already achieved a certain level of design, development, and operations by getting an education and learning from our parents and mentors. All we mainly have to figure out now is marketing.
How do we want to market ourselves? The answer to this question is quite a personal one, but in essence, the goal is often to show we are human beings.
Switch the View
So, how do we change the recruiters’ perception of us as products into human beings?
This is where it may feel counterintuitive, so let’s imagine a scenario first.
Pretend we have been hired as RV dealers.
To most of us, RVs are large vehicles that include all the minimum necessities for at least one person to stay overnight for an extended period of time.
If we were to sell RVs from that standpoint, we probably would not become the Dealer of the Year.
However, if we promote RVs from the standpoint that these vehicles enrich time with family and friends while exploring the beautiful lands of our country, then what happens?
Now, it is not just an RV. It is a way for people to spend entertaining quality time with those close to them at gorgeous locations.
Translating that metaphor to ourselves, we need to recognize that, initially, recruiters and hiring managers will see us as products that have potential to solve their problems. As such, we need to match that level of thinking and view ourselves as products too.
From there, we need to determine how we want to exhibit our unique personalities behind our product persona and market ourselves as human beings.
The question now is what kind of human being do each of us want to be perceived.
Well, that is a question only you can answer for yourself.
You, The Best Human Product Out There
It can be a cold world out there.
With so much competition, it is easy to fall through the cracks. Be seen as just another body. Another product.
So, how are you going to warm it up?
Know our starting point. Mentally meet recruiters at where they are. See yourself as a product that only you can manage.
Then, being the CEO of you, strategizes how to go about marketing yourself so that those who have the power to hire would view you as the competent human beings who is going to solve their issues and be their favorite person.
Once they see you, the world is your oyster.
Need some help figuring out how to make yourself look human? Let’s hone that down for you.