Personal Marketing: Be more than just a resumeNovember 24th, 2010 | Job Search | 1 Comment »
When was the last time you applied for a job? How did you do it? An emailed resume? A carefully crafted cover letter? A link to your portfolio? In reality, an overwhelming majority of people applies to jobs with a simple resume and maybe a few sentences introducing themselves. But the truth is, in today’s world, a resume rarely cuts it. In short, resumes are vague, generic, and impersonal.
No doubt you’ve heard the phrases “personal branding” and “personal marketing” before. But the definitions and explanations have been so thinly spread over so many sources that if pressed, you’d find it difficult to put them into words. All you need to know is that to truly market yourself as an exceptional candidate, you have to become more than a mere resume.
1. Define yourself as a candidate
What are your career goals and passions? What are your strengths? Achievements? How can the combination of these make you a more valuable candidate than that guy over there?
A word about achievements: Obviously, achievements are proof of just how awesome you are, but be cautious. Your real focus should be on what you can bring to the table, not what you brought in the past. A potential employer cares more about the success of his company than your previous company, so focus on future contributions rather than past achievements.
2. Market research
There’s no point wasting time marketing yourself to a company that is not looking for your market. Take time to research your target audience first. For each company you’re interested in, research company culture and values, as well as overall trends in their industry. This information should help you determine how to market your value.
For example, say you want to apply to ABC Company, and upon further research you find that they like passionate professionals who love learning new technologies. This is a great opportunity to market any professional technology networking you’re involved in, any extra tech classes you’ve taken, or how you keep up with tech news.
Having defined your value as a candidate and determined the desires of your target audience, next you have to take action. The most basic way you can implement your personal marketing plan is by sprucing up your resume and cover letters with keywords that you can pull from your definitions and research. But don’t stop there. Here’s a few tactics you can take advantage of:
• Personal websites: A personal website can showcase your resume, a portfolio, contact information and more. Include the link on any emailed or hard copy of your resume.
• Professional blog: Build and interact with a community of like-minded individuals. Post opinions and facts about your industry, your favorite technologies, tech news and stories.
• Personal slogan: Develop a short tagline that will accompany your name on resumes, websites, etc. It should let your audience know instantly what you’re all about.
• Social media: Interact with people in your industry and reach out to employers. The more connections and valuable conversations you make, the more you’ll be recognized as an outstanding candidate.
• Business cards: In a world that’s slowly rejecting paper and printing, the business card is surprisingly thriving. Include all relative contact information, website addresses, slogan, etc. Exchange it at interviews and networking events. It’s a simple yet innovative tactic that will be remembered by employers.
• Advertise yourself: Be creative and take out an ad on Facebook, other social networks, or even local newspapers. Advertise yourself as the number one candidate, or advertise for your own boss. It’s rare, but it’s been done, and it can potentially be very effective.
Ultimately, the employment world is changing faces, and you have to keep up. Figure out what you want, what you have to offer, whom you want to offer it to and how they will respond to you. These are just a few simple tactics, but the point is that the process of applying and landing a job is changing, and you have to keep up. Develop and execute your own personal marketing plan as a candidate, and you may just find yourself in your dream job sooner than you thought.
–Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis