September 8, 2009
“You will never marketing anything more important than yourself.” My university professor paused for effect as he scanned the small group of us who were working on our master’s degree in marketing.
His comments caught me off guard. Quite frankly, I thought I already knew marketing, yet I’d never considered applying marketing principles to myself as if I were a product. My professor’s wisdom echoed in my mind, and through the years I grew to appreciate his sage advice even more.
Fifteen years later I stood before my own class of university students. With graduation approaching, these young people would soon be marketing themselves in a competitive job market, so I talked with them about applying marketing principles to their own job searches. I designed a tool for them to use in conducting a marketing audit on themselves. (This was a take-home assignment to be completed over spring break—the spiteful revenge of an instructor who noted that too many students skipped class on mardi gras to attend a sorority party.)
Later, when I lost my job as a marketing professional, I reached into my marketing toolbox, found that homework assignment and used it to develop a personal marketing plan for my own job search.
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September 1, 2009
In these tough economic times, I know too many good people who are between jobs. It’s a noisy, competitive job market and as I observe the chaos, two things become apparent:
- Too many people are clamoring for the same few jobs.
- Only a small minority of those people are doing a good job of marketing themselves.
Having been in a job search myself, I feel great empathy for job seekers. From my personal experience, I’ve learned more about career transitions than I ever cared to know. Therefore, I’m often asked to network with job seekers to help them brainstorm strategies for a job search.
I’m always willing to share what I’ve learned if it can help someone else along the path. Most of my advice, though, can be summarized in the following 10 items:
- Think of yourself as a “product” to be marketed in a noisy, competitive marketplace.
- Have a personal marketing plan.
- Differentiate yourself. I can’t stress this enough. Be memorable. Be unique.
- Be findable. Create a large digital footprint by using sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Profiles.
- Know who you are. Develop an effective “elevator speech” or “30-second commercial.”
- Know where you are you going. Describe your destination so others can visualize you once you’ve reached your destination.
- Let people know how they can help. Be specific. Generalities usually do not generate the desired results.
- Use stories to describe your achievements.
- Talk about the benefits you offer, not the features described in your resume.
- Believe in yourself (or no one else will).
Okay, I’ve shared lessons I learned along the pathway, and I’d like to hear from someone who has navigated a career transition. If you’ve successfully emerged from a job search, what did you learn? What worked for you? What advice would you share?
On the other hand, if you have recently hired someone, what additional wisdom would you share with a job seeker?