Personal Brand Marketing
Present yourself as an ideal fit for the position you are seeking and “advertise” your product to potential buyersBy Donald J. Strankowski
Most conventional job search strategies are simply not effective anymore. To be successful in today's ultra-competitive job market, one must employ new tools and new strategies for gaining notice and getting hired.
Most job search resources available today are designed for the homogenous, average job seeker. Many current books discussing job search techniques seem to rehash and re-bundle methods that are decades old. However, a successful job search in today’s economy requires the implementation of new, proactive job search strategies in combination with practical rules for getting hired.
One such proactive strategy is called Personal Brand Marketing. Much like the marketing campaign for a new brand of laundry detergent or toothpaste, you need to bundle, package and present yourself as an ideal fit for the position you are seeking and then “advertise” your product to potential buyers.
We are now in an era of specialization. Successful job seekers position themselves as a specialist in a particular occupation, trade, and industry. In baseball, you don’t ask your starting catcher to play centerfield twice a week and then play shortstop every Monday. Sure there are professional baseball players who can play multiple positions, but the very best players (and the highest paid) play the same position day in and day out—and do it well. It’s the same with you and I. We become better at certain things as we spend more time practicing them. So as you embark on your job search, remember that you are an “expert” at what you do.
A person who is a specialist in a particular area or trade will far often win the job over a jack-of-all-trades type candidate. The fact is that most of us do have experience and relevant skills in a number of different areas. However, if you want to increase your chances for success in today’s highly competitive job market, you must focus your skills and expertise in one or two occupational areas – the areas that most interest and excite you. All documents, communications, and positioning statements should be prepared with this in mind.
The next step then is to develop your personal marketing statement. You can use this statement or variations of it when you attend networking events or unexpectedly meet someone who may be able to assist you in your job search. Your personal marketing statement should reflect what you’re looking for (your career objective), what you have to offer, and why a company would want to hire you. It should take no longer than 30 seconds to read aloud. Here is a sample personal marketing statement (written in telegraphic style suitable for email):
“Seeking an executive-level sales position with a consumer products company. Seventeen-year track record of exceeding sales quotas and recipient of numerous sales achievement awards. Possess extensive experience in the strategic selling process able to effectively sell to all levels of management; entry/mid level to “C” level. Proven history of successful business development. Thoroughly analyze all aspects of the prospect’s business model, purchasing strategy, product needs, and decision process while crafting a high-level sales strategy. Goal-oriented, positive, and determined to succeed!”
Here are some winning strategies for creating personal brand awareness and advertising your unique product:
- Email your contact list: Everyone and anyone who uses the Internet and email for communication has a list of contacts; both personal and professional. I have seen personal address books and been the recipient of emails that were initially sent to at least 100 unique email addresses. Formulate a well-versed professional email detailing your employment objective and include your personal marketing statement. I would also recommend pasting your resume at the bottom of your email in plain text or ASCII format as some email software programs will automatically delete unsolicited email attachments. Ask your contacts to please pass along your resume and information if they or anyone else they know has any knowledge of positions that may be consistent with your needs.
- Personal Business Cards: You cannot carry a fist full of resumes with you everywhere you go. Writing your contact information on cocktail napkins or drink coasters may send the wrong message. One effective and professional method of marketing yourself is to have business cards printed with your contact information. Any local printer can print business cards for a nominal cost. Include your full name, professional email address (as opposed to a “cute” one such as BigBear34@aol.com), online portfolio URL address (if you have one), and all relevant contact information. You can then carry some business cards with you wherever you go and are always prepared for “impromptu” networking opportunities. Additionally, if you are listing your home phone, cell phone, or both as a means of contact, ensure that your voice mail greeting reflects your professional demeanor. Like many areas in the job search, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure you make every chance count.
- Online Portfolios: Growing numbers of professionals are creating web sites to house their resume and samples of their work for recruiters and employers to browse. A resume alone doesn't tell the story a home page or portfolio can. A person can do much more than show their work history and hobbies. In addition to a simple online resume, they can give an employer a chance to see samples of work, have quotes from people they have worked with, set up links with references and referrals and more. An employer can really get to know a person in-depth while viewing their online portfolio. Some people develop online portfolios that include experience, samples of projects or proposals, business-development and educational background and a list of honors and achievements.
The online portfolio site can be broken down into sections so employers can go into the information as deeply as they want. It’s also a good idea to include an executive or professional summary so viewers can quickly see your professional history if they didn't want to browse the entire site.
When creating an online portfolio, you don't have to be top-flight web designer to produce an impressive, effective site given the easy-to-use software available. There are also automated resume-writing sites. CareerFolios.com (www.careerfolios.com) has multiple design templates and resume categories to choose from. Many of these automated sites also act as hosts, allowing candidates to simply refer potential employers to the site or forward a URL that will take them directly to their e-resume and work samples. This can be a less-expensive alternative to hiring a professional web designer and paying a monthly hosting fee.
Increase your hiring chances by embarking on a personal brand marketing campaign. Identify your “product” and key competitive advantages and then advertise your product to the marketplace. Develop the mindset that you are “Brand You”; an expert in your field and specialist in what you do!
Donald J. Strankowski Jr. is founder and President of Ascend Career and Life Strategies, LLC, a career management and professional development firm for businesses, professionals, and executives. He works out of Boulder, Colorado and can be contacted at 303-245-7049, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at www.AscendCareers.net.