A hunt for a job or promotion is no time to be modest. Getting that next interview or talk in the bag very much depends on how well you sell yourself. If no one knows about the product, then who’s going to buy it, right? To self-market successfully, it’s important to have a realistic view of your education, experience and skills, and to be able to learn how to promote your natural talents.
It begins with self-awareness
Before you can begin to market yourself, you should be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Start by reflecting on your distinct talents, skills, and academic or professional achievements. Your marketability is largely affected by how much you believe in your own qualifications and suitability for a job. In essence, good self-promotion starts with self-confidence. Your own perception of yourself will help you begin to assemble your “brag bag”, that unique picture of who you are personally and professionally.
Learn to “brand” yourself
Once you feel comfortable with your level of self-awareness, you should have more confidence to create a positive personal brand or image. Some points for your package include:
- Convey your personal strengths and talents. Remember, if you can do it, it’s not bragging!
- Don’t underestimate your value to an employer or a career opportunity. You might think it’s nothing, but others would think it’s something.
- Consider the needs and wants of your target audience (potential employer or current manager). Try to communicate your value to match what they’re looking for.
- Identify the gaps in your personal brand and invest time and energy to overcome them through education or self-development courses.
- Don’t forget, your unique combination of experience, education, skills, interests, and knowledge can be the right match for many different kinds of roles and environments because they can be packaged and repackaged in different ways.
Master a personal pitch
How much time do you have to make a first impression? It could be anywhere from as little as three seconds to as much as 30, and during that time, you need to give someone a nutshell version of who you are and what you have to offer. When you have a good perception of your own attributes, you can start getting that across to others. Your personal pitch - which should be practised verbally - will help you write a concise resume and cover letter, and more importantly, help you prepare for face-to-face interactions, such as networking opportunities or interviews.
Network your way to success
Many people shy away from the idea of ‘networking’ but many don’t realise that whenever you talk with others and seek their opinion to make an informed decision - even if it's just to find a good movie, restaurant or plumber - you're networking. Like any relationship, networking requires an investment of time, to learn about what each other has to offer. Focusing on the opportunity to build a relationship could make your next networking experience more enjoyable and much more effective.