Thursday, August 07, 2008

How to Market Yourself

Most of us are great at singing the praises of the company we work for or the people we work with. But when it’s time to toot your own horn, does a little voice go off in the back of your head saying, “it isn’t nice to brag”?
The problem is, opportunities won’t come to you if others don’t know what you have to offer. And let’s face it, in today’s soft economy, it’s wise to be prepared for any changes that might come. So whether you’re looking for a promotion, a plum assignment, new clients for your business or a new position, you need to sell yourself. And you don’t have to feel boastful to do it effectively. You simply have to view yourself as a business or product and plan your own mini-marketing campaign.

Develop an “Elevator Speech”
It’s that one minute sound bite that tells people who you are and what you can do for them. Develop it, hone it, practice it and don’t be afraid to use it whenever you can. It’s a good introduction that can help you highlight your core assets.

Create Marketing Materials
Your resume and business cards are important tools for promoting yourself and telling people about you when you’re not there in person. So keep your resume up-to-date. Look at it with a critical eye and ask a trusted colleague to give you feedback as well. Don’t just list your responsibilities, but describe specific accomplishments. And be creative, so you stand out from the crowd. For instance, design your own business card. On one side put the essentials: your name and contact information. On the other side put a short statement of the opportunity you’re looking for. Or list three or four of your most important professional accomplishments.

Promote Your Accomplishments
Use a binder to create a portfolio that showcases talent and expertise. Include your resume and business card, of course. But don’t be afraid to include other things that tell your story effectively. How about including examples of your work? A write-up in the company newsletter? A thank-you note from a client? If you want something truly impressive, consider making your own personalized, custom-printed binder to hold it all.

Be Well Organized
Make it easy for others to browse through your portfolio by organizing the contents inside. You might have sections like Resume, Special Accomplishments, Accolades, References and anything else that makes sense, such as Writing Samples or Special Talents.

Expand Your Network
You can’t be a wallflower if you hope to dance. Get out there and go to trade shows and networking events, classes and job fairs. Plan lunches and after-work meetings with colleagues and associates. It’s about building a web of relationships that can lead you to the right opportunity.So don’t wait. Start today and put together a marketing plan and materials for the most important product you’ll ever sell—yourself!

From Avery

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