How to position yourself in a tough job market

I am always speaking to mid and senior-level candidates across the market day in and day out, offering
advice and guidance on how to perform in the job market better, gain cut-through and generate greater
visibility in a very cluttered market and at a difficult time.

The market context here (January 2024) is that we are still at the bottom with very little visibility ahead.
All companies have cut 15% to 30% of headcount at all levels, marketing budgets have been slashed,
and investment projects and headcount are all frozen. All companies have “stripped back to the core”,
cutting back on everything that isn’t business critical so they can keep their heads down and just get
through to the other side.

This has meant that with such deep cuts across all businesses, there is an oversupply of good talent in
the marketplace. With very few new jobs being released, brands and businesses are faced with a tidal
wave of applications and CVs that just becomes unmanageable – they don’t have the people or
processes to review and/or go back to everyone.

On top of that, with a strong focus on cost and a high level of expectation on output, salaries versus
expectations and role scope aren’t always aligned.

This leads me to the point of this article. At such a tough time and in such a cluttered and highly
oversupplied market, how do you make sure you are doing the best job you can to compete against your
peers, gain cut through and ultimately succeed in the current job market? This article isn’t targeted at a
specific level of candidate but here to help you raise your profile, communicate your USP succinctly and
generate more valuable activity during your search.

How are you positioning yourself in the market?

The main question I ask candidates when I talk to them is: How are you positioning yourself in the
market and what is your proposition?

Every candidate thinks they are different, they have more to offer than the next person and they have
unique skills to offer, but when it comes to communicating on their CV or elevator pitch, very few have
even thought about or can articulate this. From my point of view (and this is just my point of view) the
more senior you are the better at this you should be. Why? Well, if you can’t articulate this quickly and
succinctly, then the client or hiring manager will just move on to the next candidate and there are a lot
more candidates out there.

Okay, so how are you positioning yourself?

Think about:
1. The unique position you occupy in the market
2. The sector you sit within
3. The seniority level you operate at
4. Your tenure of experience
5. Your level of responsibility
6. The value of revenue you generate or are responsible for
7. The impact you crate
8. The culture you curate
9. What you excel at

Are you ready to go-to-market?

I am sure there are more points to consider, but the above should help you distill the position you are
occupying, allowing you to clearly articulate it as a proposition, for when you go-to-market.

Below are some examples you could adopt.

For example, for a senior commercial candidate who has worked for established brands building out their online and DtC offering, this could be:
‘20 years within some of the world’s most well-known retail brands, building their online and DtC
businesses from the ground up, developing a culture of excellence, commercial performance and
leading eCommerce strategic innovation across the marketplace.’

For a mid-level strategic programme manager in a tech business, this could be:
‘A strong programme management professional, with experience gained from tier-1 tech businesses,
able to navigate large complex organisations with a high degree of fragmentation, influence disparate
stakeholder groups, challenge logic, build structure, process and strategies to drive programme and
product success at a global regional and local level.’

For a senior brand marketing leader with global experience across the wines and spirits sector, this could be:
“Senior marketing leader with a career across the world’s leading wines and spirits brands, developing
new brands, business models and routes to market through a progressive marketing approach,
leveraging data, delivering ROI and building a culture of success and excellence internally and externally.

Investing in yourself is worth it

Looking for a new role in the current market is hard. Turning the lens back onto yourself, writing a CV
and developing a position and professional proposition is hard, but it is worth it.

Having your ducks in a row, going to market with a clear positioning and proposition, builds confidence,
aids your speed to market and optimises clear communication and the articulation of your value
proposition to recruiters, headhunters, hiring managers and potential employers.

My advice here is to ‘start with the words’. Trying to write it straight into your CV is tough, so start with
pen and paper and construct these words into a strong proposition that best reflects who you are, the
position in the market that you occupy and the value you are bringing.

*At The Change Partners, we believe in working in partnership with both our clients and candidates. I hope you have found this useful. If you need any help, do feel free to reach out to me: *

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