Everyday we see products being marketed to us in every facet of our life. It could be the rotating ads on the billboards on your way to work. It could be the thirty second infomercial on the radio. It could be from the various companies you follow on instagram. Businesses spend millions to billions of dollars just to make sure there products are seen. Political campaigns spend millions to market one candidate or slander another. The cost of a thirty second ad during the super bowl is five million dollars.
My short version definition of marketing is basically the subtle and non-subtle ways a message, product, or idea is communicated to the consumers that find value in them. Now let’s look at yourself as the CEO of yourself. Let’s say you’re a millennial, like me, or just career ambitious. You are always thinking about the next job or step up. Performing at a high level and earning merits in your current role is the first thing necessary. But it’s the work done behind the scenes that’s rarely talked about, that’s major component in marketing yourself. What does that look like? Well in my opinion it encompasses a few things areas.
The old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” still has some candor. And one place I see people fall short with networking is when they approach it with the mindset of what can the other person do for me? That’s not how it’s supposed to work; people with that attitude can come off as unauthentic and manipulative. Learning someone’s interest and relating for the sake of dialogue, volunteering to help with projects and providing valuable feedback, giving compliments to co-workers and being inquisitive around your superiors are all great examples at networking. Joining company based groups or a team relating to your hobbies is another good idea.
It’s one aspect of marketing myself I think about the most. To me professionalism, like marketing, starts with appearance. I work in a business casual environment. Dress pants and a collared shirt is the bare minimum for males. Most guys around the office wear a dress shirt. I take it one step further and wear a tie at least two or three days out of the week. You never know when the opportunity to impress someone or speak to someone of importance will come. You want to look your best because as humans we make judgments about someone as soon as we see them. A good impression can go a long way and that goes double for a bad impression. Professionalism also extends to how you speak to your peers, managers, and customers. It’s the tactful way you reply to email with acceptable format and language instead of ripping someone’s head off in all caps. All these things are basically equivalent to the ingredients chart on the back of a food product; it tells what you’re made of.
Lastly marketing yourself well deals with knowing your target audience or goal. If you know that you want a certain job, getting experience is step one. Step two is showing people you could fit in with them and that you have the capacity to learn. Look for trends in the recent hires and do what you can to align yourself and showcase your talents. Look at obtaining some business cards, attending after work socials, department community service events to increase your exposure. And if your company doesn’t do many of these things, be the initiator. Until you make it big and can hire a team, you are the best one to market how good you are to those around you.