Seven key elements to help professionals stand out from the crowd
Let’s face it. Marketing yourself is an essential part of the job search process.
But if you want to do it right, it takes training, practice, strategy and research. Admittedly, it’s a bit of art. You also need to work from a good ‘stat sheet’ (similar to what an athlete uses). Then you need to develop a great script that will knock someone’s socks off in 15 seconds - or less.
When we market a client to prospective employers, we call it “skill marketing” which is sort of what a sports agent does, but for professionals. It provides our clients with exposure and access to the decision makers who can offer a job interview, or better, a great job.
What does a good “sports agent” do?
Great “skill marketers’ are almost as hard to find as great sports agents. Here’s what the best do, in sports and in business:
- They get you ready for market before you go to market.
- They help you build a new stat sheet.
- They help identify opportunities.
- They help you get in front of key decision makers.
- They build high-level networks – they know who is buying, what they’re buying and how to match talent with buyers.
Do you want to become a professional “skill marketer”?
Unless you’re a natural born sales person, you may need to jump way out of your comfort zone.
When I went to Fort Lauderdale for this training, I had no idea what I was in for. Myself and 35 other “high performers” from around North America were asked to bring 5 of our top candidates as well as 15 companies or decision makers we thought they would be a good fit for.
After some tough training, we were each seconded to a room with a phone and were not allowed to leave until we got a qualified meeting for one of our candidates. We were timed. Talk about PRESSURE! I figured this was simply the “American Way” – go bold, or go home.
But it got worse – at least for me, a borderline introvert. We were asked to make live cold calls to strangers with the objective of getting a meeting with a decision maker. All ears – and eyes – on me, judging every word. I can still feel the agony!
It’s worth it!
Looking back, that was one of the most stressful, yet rewarding, moments of my life. Although I had to make a huge leap out of my comfort zone, in a week I learned how to successfully market someone to a prospective employer.
Over the years, my teams honed this skill, resulting in hundreds of people landing jobs they never otherwise would have.
So, how do YOU market yourself like a sports agent?
- You have 15 seconds to get a meeting. It is an art to get someone interested in you. These precious seconds often determine whether the relationship you make with a potential employer will be long-term, or one that lasts less than a minute! You don’t want to blow an opportunity to speak to this person again in future.
- If you don’t know your value, how can anyone else? It goes without saying that it’s impossible for someone to be convinced of your value, if you don’t even know it yourself. You should not try to market yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) until you are convinced of your unique value to the employer.
- What makes you unique? In addition to knowing your value, you must be able to explain WHY – with examples that demonstrate your “WOW! Factors”. What separates you from the other 100 candidates who’ve applied to the company? If you can deliver one really powerful story demonstrating your value, you’ve already set yourself apart from the pack.
- What’s in it for them? If you can’t articulate how a potential employer’s life will be different with you in it, you’re probably not ready to apply.
- Do your due diligence. Do your homework before calling a prospective employer. This may include researching issues they might have, speaking to current or former employees, reviewing the website - and especially LinkedIn profiles.
- Don’t apologize for who you are. If it seems that the employer isn’t interested, do not beg for a meeting. Instead, ask them to keep you in mind for any opportunities that may require your skill set – within or outside the company – or ask them who they know who might help you.
- Practice, rehearse and don’t give up. Ever. Done right, you will walk through doors you never imagined possible.
This is a huge and critical subject condensed to a few points. For more information, feel free to reach out to me at Higher Landing. Follow us, check us out on twitter and/or send us an email!