The Five Ps of Job Search

Personal Brand

5 Ps of Marketing

You can apply the Five Ps of Marketing: Product, Place, Price, Promotion and Persona (which is my personal addition) to your job search since you’re basically marketing yourself when in job search mode.

Product: How do you prove that your functional skills match the job specifications?

You need to prove that you can do the exact job that needs to be done.

Of course, it’s easiest if your latest job is very similar to the opening. Regardless, if you truly believe you have the necessary skills, you should be able to craft your message to establish that your experience is appropriate and sufficient.

Place: Do you have experience in the same category… even in the same location?

The core meaning of Place is closely related to Product. Think about your Place as the categories in which you’ve earned the right to practice your functional skills.

Although companies are looking for an exact fit of “been there, done that” for both skills and categories, most are somewhat open to considering your skills if they have been developed in categories that are obviously related.

A secondary meaning of Place is that it’s a bonus if you’re located within commuting distance. Sometimes this is a requirement, especially for mid-level jobs.

Price: Do you have the right level of experience and success?

Your latest salary is the initial screen out for whether you’re appropriate to even be considered for the open position. That’s one reason coaches recommend not providing your salary history until the potential employer has chosen you as their favorite candidate.

Your latest salary can’t be so far outside the job’s salary range that it raises concerns about how you’ll fit into their organizational structure. Even if you’d be happy to accept the salary being offered, a significantly higher previous salary raises issues about whether you’re desperate (never good) or will stay once a better offer comes along.

Being under the salary range raises an equally important issue about your suitability for the job. The tighter you fit their category and skill requirements, the more likely you can jump up significantly in salary.

Note that it’s not unusual for a company to hire someone:

  • From the same category with skills only somewhat related to the job spec.
  • From a related category with the exact desired skills.
  • Whose previous salary was one level outside the job specs.

Regardless, it is unusual to hire someone who requires breaking more than one of these factors.

Promotion: There are several definitions of Promotion that apply to your job search, including:

  • Have you been promoted into a similar role? (Answering: How good and appropriate are you?)
  • Can you promote your company, department and project to accomplish what needs to be done? (Answering: Can you do the job?)
  • Can you promote yourself? (Answering: Can you get hired?)

Promoting yourself successfully requires both:

  • Educating the firm about how great you will be once you’re hired; and
  • Remaining likable while self-promoting.

Personal BrandPersona: I believe Persona is the fifth and most important P of job search.

To me, Persona is a good substitute for the phrase “personal brand.” In fact, Persona may be a better communicator than this typically used phrase since it is more descriptive of your intended image.

My online dictionary defines persona as an assumed identity or role. I disagree with this because the word “assumed” can communicate both false and expected. First, I hope that we’re all presenting ourselves accurately (even if using the best light) and with a little twist so that we’re distinctive and memorable.

I’m much happier with the following phrase that I edited from a definition presented by Google. My best definition of Persona is: the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to AND IS perceived by others. This is another way of saying that the hiring manager perceives you as you intended.

Next time you’re searching for a job, ask yourself how you can leverage the Five P’s of marketing, especially your persona.

(This content was originally posted at

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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