Susan has recently been retrenched from her administrative position that she has held for five years. She is now thinking about her next step, and importantly how to get a job. With a changing and challenging labour market, she will need to put together a job seeking skills strategy.
Attaining employment requires a well thought-out strategic plan with corresponding actions. Applying for jobs is no longer about submitting an online application and hoping for the best. It requires considering employment options, positive self-marketing, and personal branding to showcase one’s skills, qualifications, ability and experience.
The labour market is a competitive globalised job market with technological advancement, less jobs, labour that is outsourced, and an increasing amount of qualified and skilled applicants.
Competition for jobs occurs between experienced job seekers, and millennials who are well qualified, pro-actively assertive, computer savvy to build their profiles, and find jobs in a range of websites that older job seekers do not know about, nor access.
What is self-marketing?
It is a marketing campaign of oneself to enable individuals to demonstrate their unique self and effectively communicate to prospective employers their skills and experiences to standout in the marketplace to attract employment for either a new job or a promotion.
Successful self-marketing creates a positive image or career identity to help individuals separate themselves from the applicants who may be competing for the same job, to attract an ‘ideal’ employer.
Your self-marketing plan
A self-marketing plan is an action plan that is the blueprint of your information that establishes your direction for activity. It provides your activity and communication plan so that you are strategic with a professional approach, with all your options considered. It enables you to overcome career barriers that prevent you attaining your goals.
Self-marketing begins with an understanding of where you are in your career, and a direction of where you are going. Once this has been determined, you will need to be clear about:
- Your career goals
- The type of jobs you are seeking
- Your unique marketable qualities. These include: qualifications, skills, attributes, strengths and achievements are your unique marketable qualities
- Your weaknesses, and how can these be overcome or reduced
- Your application from an employer’s perspective
Once you have considered the fundamental plan, you will be in a strong position to develop the plan to the next stage with the following content:
- A target list of complementary employers to market yourself
- The reasons you are going to market yourself to them
This is the reason for your action, and helps you to determine your approach.
Your method to target prospective employers
Understanding how to target prospective employers and the networking process will build your communication strategy.
When you write a self-marketing plan, write in clear and concise language for easy reference. The plan contains: daily tasks, time frames, dates, measurable outcomes, and key contacts with their details.
Tips for self-marketing
- Differentiate yourself to demonstrate your unique value, achievements and attributes
- Let employers know your value, how you can help them and add value to the role
- Write a career journal to think about your career, progress and setbacks. It will help you learn more about yourself
- Use LinkedIn recommendations and testimonials to vouch for the quality of your work. It will speak loudly to let prospective employers know more about you
- Update your self-marketing plan to review your plan regularly, or as situations change so that it is current and informative
- Use social media to communicate This includes sites such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ to highlight content and your expertise. Ensure that your image is professional and shows you in the best light. Write regular blogs, ask questions, share stories, upload examples of your work, and network with prospective employers
- Join online groups that complement your career as an active member, and contribute to discussions. Ask questions and add a comment to the discussion. It is not about self-promotion as you will not be looked at favourably
- Use keywords in blog posts, social media profiles, and websites. Make it easier for employers to find you
- Write an elevator pitch that is your self-introduction. It is a 30 second grab to sell yourself as someone with a career profile who others should know. You may need to modify your elevator pitch for different audiences
- Network at industry events. Take an interest in the person that you are speaking with. Collect the business card and at the end of the event, contact them to thank them for their time, and aim to keep in touch.
The job market is competitive. To plan your next step and find employment requires a strategic plan coupled with effort to successfully attain career success.
As my life motto says: Enjoy the process.
What self-marketing plan do you have to attain your career goal? Share your tips and ideas below in ‘Comments.’
Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and has extensive experience in career development, life coaching, education and training.
Leah is the author of two books in careers and business communication, a former freelance writer for The Age and Herald Sun, and publisher of two accredited online short courses, Mentoring and Development and Foundations in Career Development Practice.
Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA), a Certified Retirement Coach and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification.