Marketing You

So what is a marketing strategy, and how do you go about creating one?

Whether you are actively searching for a new job, or if you are happy with your current position, one sage piece of wisdom has it that you should re-visit and revise your resume at least once a year.  Why would you do this if you are happy at your current position and aren’t looking for something else?  There are two reasons:

  1. Opportunity tends to strike at non-predictable times.  You never know when a great opportunity will present itself, and you don’t want to miss it because it had been years since you even looked at your resume.
  2. You never know what kinds of activities will require a resume.  I found this out the hard way when I was submitting my application to Wichita State University for admission into the Non-Profit Management Certification program through the Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs.  I had only been out of university for two years and assumed the application process would be the fairly straight-forward forms you can download from their website and transcripts from my alma mater university.  But I discovered that an updated resume was a required piece of the package for admission for the Non-Profit Management program!  Luckily I’d left myself enough time to get this document together before the admission deadline.

ResumeIf you run a Google search for anything involving resumes, you will be quickly flooded with search results ranging from free resume templates to companies that will write your resume for you and, of course, approximately eighty thousand blog posts and opinion columns from business magazines and LinkedIn on how to craft a resume sure to land you your desired job.  It’s a little overwhelming, especially if you are in a career transition period and need to figure out how to re-tool your resume to highlight the skills you bring to the table in a new arena.

Almost a year ago, the Association for Talent Development hosted a webinar by Anabelle Reitman titled Marketing Strategies for a Targeted Job Search – Tips for Attracting the Attention of Employers.  Because the webinar was originally presented in September of 2014, only members of ATD can view the archived recording.  But all you have to do to become a member is sign up with their website and you get access to the complete archives, including members-only material.  That is something I enjoy taking advantage of, because quite frankly the paid membership costs are a bit steep.  I would strongly encourage everyone to become a member of the website, if for no other reason than to get access to their extensive webcast archives.  It’s a treasure trove of ideas and resources, and this webinar is a perfect example of the great resources you’ll find.

One point that Anabelle makes during the webinar is that it’s not just about keeping your resume up-to-date, although you definitely should be doing that.  It’s also about re-framing the resume as a document that is forward-looking, rather than a mere listing of your past accomplishments.  “But wait,” you say, “How can I create a resume that is forward-looking if I am not sure where I want to go?  “That’s where is important to have a self-marketing strategy!” replies Anabelle.

strategySo what is a marketing strategy, and how do you go about creating one?  A marketing strategy is a clear and concise vision of who you are, what you want and what you bring to the table.  According to Anabelle, it should contain the following elements:

  1. A description of your ideal position or the position you would like to have.  This can be within your company if you are happy where you are but want to advance up the ladder.  It is also an immense help to those transitioning into new fields, because it can help you narrow your scope beyond the general “I want to work in XXXX field.”
  2. Marketing goals with timelines.  These are things like a list of new contacts you need to make to help you reach your ideal position, updating and renewing your current contact list, prepared resumes and a portfolio of your work.  The timelines are important to have because they help keep you moving forward and because they are driven by the amount of time you can spend.  One trap people who are job seeking often fall into is that they put everything they have into the search, at the expense of things like family time.  Or maybe you start traveling a lot for your current job…you’ll need to keep these possibilities in mind when you craft your timelines.
  3. Weekly to-do lists or other tracking materials.  These are important because they keep you making process, and they also help you track your progress.  It also helps you keep your head on straight.  If you are in a position where you are not currently working and you are seeking employment, it can be hard to remember how many applications you have submitted and to whom, and who you need to contact for followup.  That’s where these tracking materials can be a lifesaver!
  4. Re-visit and revise on a monthly basis.  This is one of the most important steps, because your present situation may change in ways that impact what you can do.  If you suddenly have a bunch of traveling to do for your current position, you’ll need to scale back your timeline a bit.  That’s perfectly OK, because you want to be able to keep making progress while at the same time being realistic about what you can accomplish.

In creating your marketing strategy, you’ll make updating your resume a lot easier.  After all, by the time you finish with your strategy, you’ll have a clearer picture about where you want to go and what you need to do to get there.  It’s much easier to craft a future-looking resume when you have a road map to follow.

This webinar was packed full of wonderful tips and tricks for creating a powerful marketing strategy to market yourself, even if it’s marketing yourself within your current company.  Anabelle will walk you through how to think about your personal brand, how to use stories to make yourself memorable, and what kinds of things your resume should do to showcase your chosen talents.  I strongly recommend viewing this webinar on ATD, and then start crafting your marketing campaign.  After all, it’s better to be prepared!

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