Stand Up to Stand Out: How Personal Marketing Can Land You Your Dream Career
What’s your most important product? The answer is YOU – The Brand Called You. You’d better start personal marketing it – or else.
Are you actively marketing your value? Your Personal Marketing will determine whether you succeed or fail, and whether you blend in with the bland, faceless majority of applicants or stand out and become a superstar. You have a Personal Brand and you need to market it.
It’s the marketable expression of a person’s value, ability and personality. It’s not some pretentious personal image (e.g., the car you drive, the shirts you wear). It’s the straightforward, honest summation of who you are, what you do, and the benefit of working with you. The basic unit of business is the person-to-person relationship.
Here’s a truth: people prefer to do business with people they like and trust, they want to hire someone like themselves instead of strangers and faceless corporations. Employers can get products and services anywhere, but ultimately, they choose to hire a person – and that’s YOU.
What is Personal Marketing?
Personal Marketing is a strategy that harnesses the power of your Personal Brand.
Essentially, Personal Marketing translates your “elevator speech” into marketing, public relations, and networking that promotes YOU. It puts your value directly in front of the decision-makers you want to attract. It makes you the expert of choice: the person who can take their “pain” away with exactly the right service, skills and understanding. It kick-starts a relationship between a employer and a prospective hire – a relationship, not a transaction.
Most job seekers let the world brand them, and market infrequently or not at all. But you can use Personal Marketing to influence prospective employers’ perceptions and decisions.
Why is Personal Marketing so important?
Your competition has multiplied exponentially. You now compete against the world. You need to stand out and market your value to survive, and Personal Marketing helps you do that.
How can Personal Marketing get me the career I want?
You have two choices in your career:
1) Beg for a job from anybody, and hope somebody has a need for your services.
2) Market your value confidently to people who are interested in your services, positioning yourself as “the answer” and creating mutually rewarding relationships.
It is astonishing how many job seekers choose 1) when 2) – the Personal Marketing route – is clearly the way to go. I’ve found that job seekers who clearly state their value to well-defined target audiences have more credibility with employers and recruiters, and run smoother, more efficient job searches than their unfocused competitors.
The first step in Personal Marketing is to define your Personal Brand:
- Your specialty (who you are)
- Your service (what you do) Your audience (who you do it for)
- Your leading attribute (your value, the solution or benefit you deliver, i.e., the answer to the question “what are you gonna do for me?”)
Generally, the more focused your leading attribute, the more efficient the Personal Marketing.
The value of target marketing
Next, you have to position your value to the right target audience – a group of people, organizations or companies with a common priority or interest. Defining your target audience is easy.
“To whom do I want to promote my skills and services?”
Many of your ‘A’ past employers may be within this target audience and share certain characteristics. Those characteristics can help you create a profile of your ideal employer – the person who needs to know about your leading attribute and value.
The perils of vanilla marketing
Unfortunately, most job seekers confuse their achievements with their attributes. That’s why they push achievements to anyone with a pulse. The (faulty) reasoning works like this: if I target one group of people, I might leave out or even offend somebody. I better make my marketing vague and generic.
Vague, generic marketing won’t offend anybody, and it could appeal to everybody. In reality, vanilla marketing attracts nobody. It is bland, usually imitative, and exactly what your competitors expect. It says nothing that hasn’t already been said.
Afraid to speak to the soul and emotions of the consumer, vanilla marketing relies on logic alone, which is a straight route back to sales tactics. And people want to choose, not be sold. Yes, you may be selling at the core, but you should consistently market yourself as a consultant and business partner to preferred field, not a purveyor of products. Focus on the company’s need, and how you can meet it.
Good Personal Marketing acts like a magnet If you market yourself consistently and powerfully, you will attract the employers and recruiters you want most – and repel the offers you don’t want. You can build a powerful branding and marketing strategy around a unique niche. Tactics could include (and using the case of a financial planner specializing in auto-enthusiasts):
• Renting exhibit space at the National Automotive Dealers Association trade show
• Advertisements in Automotive News, a trade journal, offering a 12-minute audiocassette of dealer-specific information
• Speeches to various automotive trade organizations
• Articles written about him in their publications
• Networking to 60 CPA firms specializing in auto dealers, as well as law firms who also specialize in his niche
• Attendance at auto manufacturer-sponsored events
Marketing demands rethinking
Even the most gifted job seeker will struggle to communicate his or her value with a boilerplate “quickie” elevator pitch, resume or website. Personal Marketing requires a new professionalism and a new level of job search. It means:
• Leveraging existing social medias to your advantage.
• Creating a website and/or blog.
• Developing a personal slogan that captures “mind share.”
• Changing networking tactics from Rotary clubs and Chambers of Commerce to other hiring and “pink slip parties” in related fields.
• Hiring a career coach or specialized recruiter.
Good marketing brings respect
Focused Personal Marketing communicates your value clearly and simply, makes prospects instantly respect you and supercharges your growth. It brings you the opportunities you want; it is “downturn-proof” because it focuses on individual attributes that remain constant no matter what the job market does.
Most importantly, Personal Marketing breaks the ice and makes prospects feel comfortable about calling you. Since most buying decisions are based on emotion – not logic – that’s magic.
It’s your choice: be vanilla and blend in, or develop strong Personal Marketing to stand out and get the career you want.
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.