June 25, 2018

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The Introverts Guide to Marketing Yourself

We've all read the books. You know- the ones proclaiming to having the "Secret to Landing that Perfect Job." They are all good books in their own right I suppose. Each of them goes through the long process of telling you how to constantly market yourself, go to every industry-related meeting in your area, and to generally be a bother to whatever company you've chosen to hang your hat on.

I've read them too, but at the end of each of them I have one question; actually I have two questions, the first being, "Why did I buy this book?" The second being, "But what if you're just not built to be a Salesperson?"

I use the term Salesperson, because all of these books' secret to success relies on your being an extrovert who likes nothing more than hanging out with others and being seen by all the right people. Granted, it may work, but it's not for everyone.

Salespeople are a different breed. They thrive on challenge, and meeting new people and being able to convince them that the widget is not only the "next best thing" but that if the customer doesn't buy it, their business will end in utter shambles. There is no in between either - you either are a Salesperson, or you aren't. Few of us can just turn on the charm and switch personalities at the drop of a hat. Those that can, also probably have a medicine chest full of ace inhibiting drugs in their bathroom.

So for those of "us" who are not built for speed, we have to take a different approach to job hunting. Unfortunately, it's not the road less traveled. It is instead, a well-rutted road full of traffic and potholes. A poor metaphor perhaps but very close to the truth. However, regardless of all the advice and all the "how to" articles out on the market, I still receive e-mail from people soliciting jobs who sometimes even forget to give me their name or contact information.

So I just want to hit the basics here for those who missed the first couple of classes this semester. I'll warn you ahead of time, there is nothing earth shattering and new here, just the simple basics. With them, you at least come off looking competent and on the ball, but without them, you're just landfill.

  1. Write a Good Resume - Simple huh? There are myriads of different ways you can write a resume. If you have tons of experience and a great education, you are a great candidate for a chronological resume. If you are fresh out of college, or are returning to the job market after a lengthy departure, then perhaps just a skills resume listing your past accomplishments, education, and life skills will suffice. If you have any sort of word processing application on your PC, then you probably have a resume template. If not, go online, there are literally hundreds of websites offering free advice on resume writing.

  2. Target Companies in Your Skillset - In today's job market, many jobs are specialty jobs suited for only particular industries. Programmers, for instance, are rarely needed at financial companies unless that company is developing its own software. Unless you live in a small town in the agricultural belt, there are probably several companies in your area who have need for you particular skillset. Find those companies and watch their websites and job listings for openings.

  3. Don't Neglect Any Job Listing Media - Since the advent of the website, many people have forgotten that there ever was a Classifieds section of the local newspaper. It's still there and you know what, it still has tons of great job leads. Most of us have forgotten it because it takes time to lay the paper out and squint at a bunch of smudgy writing in #6 font. Plus there's all that ink that gets on your carpet, your forearms, etc. But Hark! Most of your larger newspapers now list their jobs online! There is also another little added bonus that few people consider. Unlike many websites where just about anyone with a marketing scheme can post jobs for free, newspapers still charge EVERYONE to post an ad. What does this mean for the intrepid job hunter? It means that companies who pay to post jobs in the papers are probably a little more serious about hiring someone. Think about that.

  4. Brush up on Your Communications Skills - I can't pound this one in the ground hard enough. If you are reading this newsletter then you are receiving good job hunting tips on a weekly basis. Take a few moments to review cover Letter etiquette. See how others write cover letters and email communications effectively. In many cases, if the cover letter is illegible then they assume that your resume is too. Jobs aren't all about technical and/or mechanical skills; they are also about soft skills.

  5. Personalize Your Cover Letter - When responding to a job listing, take a few extra minutes to research the company, or at least think about a way that your particular skills will help them. No hiring manager wants to read resumes from candidates who sent them out by the hundreds. If you expect them to take some time to think about you, then take some time to think about them.

  6. Diversify - There is nothing wrong with having more than one resume, especially in today's job market where many people have been out of work so long that they are looking for any job to get them through the hump. I'm not advocating taking a job with the plan of leaving it as soon as something better comes along (although people have been doing this since the dawn of time). However, if you have skills that span more than one industry, then feel free to make different variations of your resume. In each, consider the sort of job that you might need particular skills for and then tailor the resume for that job. It takes time, but after a while you will have two or three resumes that are ready to go when you find a job listing that fits.

Nothing earth shattering right? I know; I get e-mail from people complaining that they need something new and fresh. I hate to tell you; with millions of people looking for jobs, the chance of your coming up with a fresh new angle that will WOW an employer, is slim. We aren't all MENSA candidates, but we can at least come off as a credit to our good name. If you follow these guidelines above, then you will at least be in the top 40% of job hunters. And right now, "That ain't bad."

Good Luck.

-Chris Souther
Corporate Writer and Trainer in the Atlanta area.
Read Chris' free E-book on Job hunting at: Copyright Chris Souther 2002

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