First of all, I’d like to note that the old/new “4Ps” of conventional marketing also apply to self-marketing. The only difference is that the product is YOU. Bare that in mind but I’m not planning to elaborate on this part here as you could easily find it online. Rather, I will shed some light on some untapped self-marketing strategies.
Whether you’re having a face-to-face interview or an online interview for freelancing jobs, the following tips will maximize our chances of being chosen for the job.
Tip 1: Your Resume/Profile is NOT a Brain Teaser!
“I wrote a report”. Brilliant! So you know how to write…Tough luck! the job requires illiteracy! What boggles my mind is that a person who writes such a vague statement might have actually written a competitor analysis report that resulted in a substantial increase in sales. Still, he’s content with sharing his writing skills!
Rather than mentioning WHAT you did, how about mentioning HOW effective it was to your company’s overall goals and strategies. In other words, focus on the results of the job performed not the job itself.
Having said that, sometimes including vague statements is unavoidable especially that lengthy resumes/profiles are big NOs. For example, if you have a section about your strengths/soft skills, you might say that you’re a fast learner or innovative and so forth. That’s perfectly OK as long as you can support your argument.
When asked to describe a situation where you have shown innovation, your reaction should be something other than “huh”, “say what?!”, “Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom”!!
Bottom line, either you can back up every single word in your resume/profile with a real-life example or simply do not include it.
Tip 2: “I’m the only one, I’m your midnight sun” Oh yeah…Prove it!
Let me clarify what I mean with a real experience. I once met a woman who’s starting her business and noticed that she didn’t have anyone handling her marketing. Instead of boring her to tears with my endless accomplishments, I sent her an email in which I acknowledged the value of her service and gave her four practical marketing ideas. Later on, when she needed a marketing consultant, guess who she contacted? Yours truly!
I actually didn’t come up with this genius idea on my own. Steven Covey discussed it in-depth in “The Seven Habits” and I was blown away when I read it and once I put into action, the results were beyond belief.
Giving your prospective employer ideas for advancement is by far the best self-marketing tip I’ve ever learned and if you just stick with it, it’s more than enough.
Tip 3: It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice!
NEVER ignore a job offer because you’re too busy or not interested. Quite often I get invitations from buyers to bid on projects I’m not interested in for whatever reason. Instead of taking the easy route and pressing, the “Decline invitation” button, I press the “Accept invitation” one and start by thanking them for the opportunity. Then, I explain that I’m too busy at the moment but I’m looking forward to working with them in the future. When a buyer/employer takes the first step towards you, it means he’s a “hot” prospect. Don’t lose him!
Tip 4: if “honesty is such a lonely word”, how about giving it some company?!
In other words, DON’T LIE. Even preschoolers know that lying is unethical so I’m not planning to go there. On top of that, lying about your working skills in particular is similar to playing a lead role in the “dumb and dumber” movie but in this case you will be playing the dumbest! Sooner or later the phony mask will fall and you’ll lose your most valuable asset: your credibility.
Having said that, it’s important to realize that being too honest could be equally stupid sometimes. You don’t need to tell your interviewer that you left your previous job because you were ticked off by the fact that your boss had one nose opening bigger than the other or that you felt a sudden urge to throw up every time he entered the room! (been there!) Instead, just say you are looking for career advancement. End of story!
The bottom line is, it’s perfectly OK to hide some facts as long as you know deep down in your heart that you’re going to deliver what you promised at the end of the day.
That’s it for now. Enjoy marketing your most precious product: YOU!