Creating Your Position: Market yourself as the perfect candidate for your dream job and career
Positioning is a huge part of Personal Branding and Online Personal Branding. Your position is one of two “legs” your brand stands on; the other “leg” is your personality.
Positioning Is Everywhere
You’ve been bombarded with positioning, and chances are you don’t even know it. You’ve sipped an “uncola,” driven a car reflecting the “relentless pursuit of perfection,” and used a computer for creative rebels who want to “think differently”.
Companies seek to market their products at a consumer niche. They recognize your niche; they want to appeal to your desires. In fact, if you visit the Yahoo! /Google/Bing search engines, type in the words “designed with you in mind,” and search for results, you get thousands of pages of results – web sites promoting child-rearing, churches, checkbooks with eccentric designs, and degree mills.
Push Your Knowledge/Skills Set
And though positioning might seem about products, it also works for Personal Brands. After all, you are selling a product, and that product is YOU. Like every other product on the market, you compete with others – namely, other professionals in your field. You are also competing with a tide of indifference – the employer or recruiter notion your prospect harbors that says, “I don’t need to start one more relationship.”
Because positioning is so critical for success, you should consider it fundamental to your Personal Branding. After all, your services are intended for a particular domain, and your prospects must feel like you are “the answer” in their domain. Understand that the car you drive, the clothes you wear, and the way your office looks do NOT position you. Your Personal Branding and Personal Marketing do. You have to start using Personal Branding and Personal Marketing to attract the clients you want to attract.
Building Your Brand on a Position
Your positioning is determined with an eye on your competitors. Find out what skills and knowledge they offer, and how they attract recruiters and employes and clients (in some cases). Then, make a list of the things that are most notable and unique to you – your interests, personal history, personality, experience and knowledge. These are foundational elements of your Personal Brand. With that foundation in mind, look at your domain’s careers, interests, likes, and dislikes.
Ask yourself what factors impact your domain’s “buying” or hiring decisions. Are members of your domain concerned about cost? Quality? Reputation? Convenience? Experience? Better yet, ask via your network those who exemplify your “dream employers” what they want. You need to discover what motivates your prospects to contact you, and/or why they don’t. With some observation, you can quickly discover a lot of information about your domain, and put it to work.
A former NFL defensive lineman seeks a new career as a sports agent. He’s met the accreditation criteria of the NFL Players Association, but so far, his prospecting has been nil. However, he has a great potential position, and he decides to capitalize on it.
He writes a positioning statement – an internal roadmap for his Personal Branding and Personal Marketing efforts, no more than 20 or 30 words. It sums up his strengths: “The veteran defensive end who uses his field-level knowledge of the NFL to see the big picture of a lineman’s career and negotiate deals for long-term security.”
He expresses this position in a Personal Brochure, in direct mail and e-mail to draft choices, training camps, personal website and coaches and directors of player personnel.
Coaches and players start calling him because – as his marketing notes – “I see things from your stance.”
If you’ve done your homework, you should have a strong, valid position. But there’s only one way to test it, and that’s to use it as the basis for your Personal Brand. Build your slogan around it. Use it to inspire graphics and copy for your business card and Personal Website. Use it as a basis for cover letter and resume to emphasize your value to your domain. Put your position into the marketplace consistently and effectively, especially when you interview or meeting people with whom you can network; Then use it when you fill in additional information when sending your follow-up letter – and see how people react to it.
The Schwab Story
One man built his Personal Brand around a position – and into a financial empire. Charles Schwab rose to the top by positioning his eponymously named company as “the discount brokerage.” Everyone knew that when you invested through Charles Schwab & Co., you wouldn’t get gouged by high commissions, or sold stocks you didn’t want. Today, Schwab’s low-cost, user-friendly brokerage serves more than 5.9 million investors and controls more than $542 billion in assets. It “owns” the discount brokerage position. What position do you want to own?
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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.