In this era of uncertainty, job security is a thing of the past for most of us. Thus, we need to perpetually market ourselves within our companies and through our network. I’m learning to be more active on LinkedIn – something I joined a long time ago but mostly ignored until quite recently.
Another workshop in which I was involved recently was Marketing Yourself. We offered the workshop to a group of people who were job-seekers and taught them about personal branding, positioning, and target marketing. It was astonishing to learn that many people had never realized that job hunting was actually service (not product) marketing. As I’ve said so many times before – marketing services (yourself) is far more difficult than marketing a product.
Services are intangible. They require either good references and testimonials or free samples. The potential buyer (employer) needs some form of proof that you do indeed deliver the quality and quantity of services you purport to deliver.
One of the LinkedIn groups on consulting has a recurring question asking if we think a free sample is a good thing to do or something we ought never do. Most people report that a free sample is a bad thing to do – that you should never give anything away. I disagree strongly. In my many years of consulting and public speaking, I’ve learned that once people actually experience what I do and how I do it they are much more likely to hire me. They learn quickly that I deliver what I promise and I deliver in my own unique and effective style.
During our workshop, we helped attendees go beyond their canned (and usually ineffective) elevator speech in favor of a sentence or two designed to talk about the benefits to their potential employer. I, role playing with them as the hiring manager, kept asking: “What’s in it for me?” Ultimately that is what you have to prove to the person contemplating hiring you.
My advice: Learn how to market yourself internally. What are your accomplishments? How can you make yourself more visible in a positive manner? Can you take risks? Lead meetings? Stretch yourself and take on more responsibilities? Brand yourself in a manner to make yourself memorable.