Developing a Self-Marketing Mindset

What comes to mind when you hear the term self-marketing? Are you filled with dread at the thought of having to talk about yourself? Or, do you welcome the opportunity to present your potential value to a prospective employer or client?

Whatever your gut reaction to the term self-marketing, you are not alone if you find it much easier and more comfortable to market anyone or anything but yourself.

Let’s begin with a break down the concept of self-marketing.

Self-Marketing – a definition:

I see self-marketing as the sum of all activities that you may engage in to promote your best skills, strengths, and value to employers or clients for mutual benefit.

Other definitions of self-marketing include:

  • Knowing that you are the product, and presenting yourself successfully
  • Describing what you can do for someone
  • Promotion of yourself in a venue you think would be profitable
  • Consistently developing “You, the Product”
  • Developing a business plan and a target market for your talents
  • Being prepared to present yourself for unforeseen opportunities

All of these descriptions are correct, and other apt definitions could be added. Since it seems so simple to define self-marketing, it should be easy, right? I mean, what could possibly get in the way? This is what my clients describe as possible challenges or obstacles to effective self-marketing:

  • It’s a scary, uncomfortable thing
  • I’ve been taught “It’s not polite to brag”
  • I’ve been told to just get any job (and that could hinder my long-term progress)
  • Lack of clarity about my core skills
  • Lack of  knowledge about the latest job search techniques
  • Rusty networking skills, or outdated approach to resume writing

These are legitimate challenges, and each of them can (and must) be overcome if you are to find the next meaningful opportunity.

Why Should I Care About Self-Marketing?

That brings me to the “why” of self-marketing. Besides the obvious need for predictable income that most of us share, why in the world would you be motivated to develop a self-marketing mindset?

While there are many good reasons for adopting this mindset, two reasons stand out as compelling:

1. Every job is temporary

2. Meaningful work is a cornerstone of a good life

If you feel stuck in your job search or career development, seek outside perspective. This can mean tapping into the wisdom of a trusted mentor or former boss, or finding a career coach to accelerate your learning curve.

Next: Mastering the Self-Marketing Skill Set