Marketing is important, not only in business, but also when it comes to representing yourself in the job market. Last week, I helped with our local Extension office’s event “Connecting the Dots: A Career Exploration Day”. This event was targeted towards local 9th & 10th graders to help them understand more about their key areas of interest. Employers helped serve as information sources about career paths, education needed and the types of job opportunities available. It was a nice atmosphere for students to learn about their options and what education it will take to get to where they want to go. It made me think about how important it is to market yourself as a job seeker. And I can tell you, it’s changed a lot from when I was in 9th & 10th grade!
#1 – Review your social media accounts from an employers perspective. Your social media account(s) are fair game for an employer to search and find out about you – that can have positive and negative implications. It’s important to always think about that when you post photos, share content, write posts, etc. In this world, social media can serve as an outlet for a rant about anything, so just be smart before you post.
#2 – A well-crafted resume can set you apart from others. Oftentimes, I see people try to put way too much information on their resume, taking up several pages for information that could be conveyed in one or two pages. A good resume should be a top level highlight of your experience. You basically want the reader (aka future employer) to understand your experience in an easy-to-follow format. Be sure to include both quantitative (numbers) and qualitative (outcomes/results) information. Essentially, you need to ask yourself questions like- how many employees did I manage or how large of a budget was I in charge of (numbers) AND what positive outcomes did I implement or what things changed because of me (outcomes).
You can put together a chronological resume or a functional resume – or a combination of both. A chronological resume is the most common and reviews your work experience in reverse order. A functional resume focuses on skills and experience and doesn’t necessarily tie to dates. Your employment experience and how relevant it is to the job you are applying for will help determine which format you choose. When in doubt, go with the chronological format as it’s the most widely used.
#3 – Put yourself out there. Networking is an important step in marketing yourself and it always will be. Get involved in organizations that connect you with others in your field or with those who you share a passion. In my experience, nearly every role that I have had in my career has been because of someone I knew or had networked with at some point in my life. My network has primarily been in the agriculture industry and I am amazed how small of a world it really is.
#4 – Use LinkedIn as a networking resource. A LinkedIn profile is an important tool for networking and learning about job opportunities available to you. A complete, professional-looking profile is essential to having an online networking tool that is working for you 24/7. According to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog, 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions. If you haven’t been on LinkedIn recently, I encourage you to take some time this week and re-connect with the platform.
#5 – Own your story and be able to talk about it in a succinct manner. Your story is uniquely yours. Once you have your resume updated with your work experience, be ready to concisely talk about it. This is especially important as you go into an interview and the best thing you can do is practice. It may seem silly, but I recommend taking your resume and talking aloud about each experience. You always get the age-old question, “Tell me about yourself”. Keep your answer short – less than a minute. With other questions, it’s important to reflect on the experience listed on your resume and be able to succinctly explain key results that happened because of you. If you practice, it will help you reflect on your experiences and prepare for the interview.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful as you navigate the employment world. If you need help, please know I am here as a resource. I worked in a Career Services office for several years and offer resume development as part of my Freyday Freelance services. I would be glad to help you organize and strategize your personal marketing action plan!