One of the most important questions a jobseeker must ask themselves is “how do I stand out?” I talk with many people who have applied to hundreds of jobs without receiving any calls for interviews. When I ask how they are marketing themselves, they usually talk about advertising, but not the deeper issue of doing everything possible to stand out.
What does it actually mean to “market yourself?” Advertising - getting your name and resume in front of employers - is only one piece of the puzzle. You need to stand out, to “sell” your skills and experience to the employer. Like a product for sale, you are competing with others and need to present your information in such a way that it communicates your value to the employer. For example, your career history is unique to you and offers interesting facts, skills and experiences that you can connect with the benefits of hiring you. This is sometimes called the “so what?” factor. You can do a certain task? That’s great... but so what? How does your being able to do this particular task benefit the employer?
There are several things you can do to demonstrate how your skills and experience benefit an employer.
First, go over your resume with a fine tooth comb. Are you specific when describing your skill set? Do you offer facts and figures about your work such as how many clients you helped on a daily basis, how you saved a certain number of dollars, or how you created a new business concept? Did you drive home the value of your best features? Did you keep your resume to two pages or less?
To highlight additional skills and expertise, consider using LinkedIn as your professional portfolio. While a resume is a snapshot of what the employer is looking for, LinkedIn allows you to expand on the details of your abilities through formal documents, images and website links. It allows you to demonstrate how you are different and lets others endorse you through formal endorsements, written recommendations and content comments.
Finally, create business cards with your contact information, customized LinkedIn URL and the top three or four benefits of hiring you. A professional-looking business card tells the recipient that you are serious, professional and dedicated to securing employment. Keep some cards in your wallet to hand out whenever you run into someone you want to connect with.
For more ideas on marketing yourself, drop into one of our three resource centres or contact your employment advisor for advice. We can help.