When job searching, we tend to list the many challenges and fears we face, laying them out brick by brick until they form a massive wall. How are you going to climb over it? What do you need to start?
Yes, the job market is tumultuous and with today's unprecedented circumstances, there is a fog of uncertainty. But there's one undeniable and unwavering fact: your amazing potential. Our friend Mehdi Rahman, Director of Global Learning, spins it like this: you're the greatest product you're ever going to market. Understanding how to market yourself effectively is all about embracing your individuality and shouting it from the top of the wall, rather than just staring at it.
It's not self-promotion, it's storytelling — and you're the hero
We know it may seem cringeworthy to perceive yourself as the hero of your own story, but it's the ultimate truth to any job search. This goes beyond just the simple resumé and job application process. It's about understanding where you and your unique talents will make the biggest impact. Your skills, background, and education are part of your story and it's a story that only you can tell. Approach it like a well thought-out marketing plan where the focus is you, your skills, and your future contributions.
Knowing what makes you tick will give you clarity and direction no matter the circumstances. Besides, it will also give you the confidence to push all that self-doubt and fear aside. Your first instinct will always be to play the comparison game and think you don't have A, B and C. After all, you are one fish in a sea of countless creatures. Yes, you may all swim, but some might be larger, tougher, faster, and way different than you. But guess what? That's the point. No one else is you! You may not sparkle in every category, but you shine at something that makes you the best person for the job. Just by being you, you stand out in a crowd. Embrace your originality and run with it.
So how do you convey that 'something' about you? Package it in a strong positioning statement which marks your talents from a mile away so you're noticeable and unforgettable. This isn't set in stone; this will change throughout your career, and that's okay. Stories change pace all the time. Now think of all the success stories you've heard — they seem like fairy tales, right? But they all started with a strong positioning statement that was crystal clear to them.
Let's play a game. Try not to think of these iconic individuals without their unique positioning statements attached to their name.
- Walt Disney. (A master animated storyteller.)
- Bill Gates. (A computer software guru.)
- Stephen King. (A horror novelist extraordinaire.)
Many career stories will have twists and turns but it's the incredible skills that always move the hero forward. When the winds of change hit in the job market, arm yourself with your empowering positioning statement (that you know inside and out) to guide you through the eye of the storm.
No time like the present
If that nagging voice is still telling you otherwise, it's time to lace up your boots to stamp out that negative self-talk with action. Practice some mindfulness with expert tips from Michael. Or begin learning and improving your already amazing skills. Every effort you make now is something the future you will be thankful for. School may be out, but learning is forever! Professional development isn't just for early on in your career. It also occurs through all stages of your career — job search included. Approach it with open-mindedness and enthusiasm!
And it's easier now than ever to find that extra bit of help. There are great resources available all around you: online courses, books, blogs (like this one!), personality tests, and podcasts. Mehdi recommends you take the time to go through them. It's not self-assessment, it's a self-reflection exercise. Recognizing both your strengths and weaknesses gives you a base to work off to develop yourself. It may be easier said than done with all our daily obligations pulling us in every direction, but it's worth the effort.
Besides feeling confident with these accomplishments, you'll also have an edge to the competition. Acting now ensures your story isn't hinging on a vague cliff-hanger. Keep track of your achievements and weave them into your story. They'll become part of your marketing plan by emphasizing your initiative, and perseverance.
Speaking of your marketing plan, here's a quick guide to get you started:
- What's Your Greatest Skill? Write down everything that you know you're a pro at and learn to leverage it in your story.
- Reflect & Improve: Be honest about what you need to work on and do it.
- Share Your Story: Connect with family friends, neighbors, or old colleagues to practice sharing your story and become comfortable with it. Remember to ask for their story too — inspiration is everywhere!
- Keep the Discussion Going: Don't lose touch with those you've spoken to because you never know if your friendly chats will lead to an opportunity down the road.
If you want more details to keep the gears moving, check out Mehdi's videos where he breaks this down further with a three-stage marketing plan. The best part is it's all about you!
Your marketing plan, your value
Life's circumstances may be unclear, but your value isn't. Let's say it again, one more time: you are the greatest marketing product you'll ever market. There's nothing that comes close in comparison to your skills, your uniqueness, and your drive. Your story is worth exploring and sharing. And this is only the beginning!
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