Market Thy Self

Wrapping up on our three-part series on the best practices for successful self-marketing, let’s summarize the three step formula:

  1. Know Thy Self
  2. Know Thy Market
  3. Market Thy Self

In the first blog on this topic, Why Self-Assessment Matters, I observed how commonplace it is for professionals and executives in transition to start by updating their resume. That’s the tail wagging the dog, in my opinion.

The three-step formula has worked for my career coaching clients because it’s a strategy, not a reactive tactic. It begins with clarifying values and strengths.

No More “Career Craters”

The idea is to stop taking jobs that are a poor fit in terms of skills or culture, because that often leads to short tenure, poor work references, or worse, a “career crater”. You know, the scorched earth, “How do I dig myself out of this bad career move?” type of experience.

Instead, use the lens of your values, strengths, and passions to identify the greatest market demand for the things you do best, thus streamlining and focusing your search. Then, form a list of target companies and launch a job search or prospecting strategy to find your next gig.

Your Job Search “Secret Sauce”

In today’s market you can’t rely on job postings as the mainstay of your job search. All the statistics I read state that 10-20% of all hires are made through job postings. That leaves a lot of untapped opportunity. That is why it is important to come up with a strategy that integrates a combination of “outbound marketing” techniques.

Get Your Career Story Straight

Before you begin, make sure you have your story straight. Do all of your self-marketing materials reflect a cohesive personal brand? Develop an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, resume, business card, portfolio or website. Pay special attention to your networking pitch, as that can be a terrific door opener, or a dreadful deal breaker, depending on how well you articulate your message.

Your mix of self-marketing activities should include:

  • Active use of LinkedIn; weekly comments on discussion Groups or “Influencer” posts, following new companies, or writing your own blog
  • Expanding your LinkedIn connections to target companies, whether they are hiring or not
  • Weekly networking activities, including professional association events and Meetups
  • Volunteering for your favorite non-profit, alumni association, or homeowner’s association

Set weekly goals for networking meetings and new contacts. The idea is to increase your visibility and spread the message of how you can solve problems for companies in your target job market.

Oftentimes, you will identify pent up demand ahead of any job posting. Seize those opportunities to create a pilot project, consulting gig, or help shape a new position.