“I’m currently unemployed and looking for a job. I have a lot of great skills and experience, but I’m not very comfortable selling myself to potential employers. Any advice?” — Judy from Denton, TX.
Thanks for your question, Judy. Job seekers like yourself hear the phrase, “marketing yourself” all the time in today’s job-hunting environment. But what does that really mean? Selling yourself? Selling your skills? Selling your experience?
Well, here’s what it doesn’t mean — marketing is not sales. If you feel queasy in the pit of your stomach at just the thought of pushing yourself on other people, you can breathe a sigh of relief! Marketing yourself simply means think of yourself as the “product” and what you can do as “service”.
Most of my research on this subject says in order to “make or break” your candidacy as an employee, you need to come up with your unique, self-marketing strategy. Ask yourself the following:
- What are your accomplishments (this doesn’t mean duties or job titles)?
- What are your competitive advantages? What value can you personally bring to the organization?
- How are you going to present yourself and your credentials?
- Are you promoting yourself with a strong résumé, cover letter, interviewing skills, follow-up calls and emails?
- Where are you placing your ‘product?’ ( That means you!) Are you visible enough? Does everyone you know you are looking for a job? Are you taking advantage of ways to be noticed, such as cold calling; networking; job hunting online; university career centers/alumni offices; and headhunters/recruiters/employment agencies?
- What value do you put on your compensation? What do you feel you deserve? Is it health insurance, raises, bonuses, vacation days, 401k, etc?
Remember to study the market in which you are interested. Gathering details about the company you for which you would like to work can give you clues on what they value and how best to align yourself with those values.
Perhaps the late Johnny Carson, comedian and long-time host of the “Tonight Show,” sums up the benefits of marketing yourself this way: “Talent alone won’t make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time – unless you are ready. The most important question is, “Are you ready?”