How To Build An Effective 'Marketing Yourself' Plan

This article was written by Deborah Shane, author of #trusthewhy Fundamentals and Values Get You Through Any Cycle, on behalf of the Happy Grad Project. Bravo, congratulations, great job, and kudos on graduating from college! Your education is a gift, asset, and tool. Education gives anyone an edge in the job and career world, but how YOU use it and what YOU do to get hired, get ahead, and succeed is the difference. YOU make the difference. Related: How To Market Yourself In Today’s Economy The most important thing you can do post-graduation is to put your Marketing Yourself Plan into motion. This is a clear picture of your assets and values. Being able to market and articulate those things will help you to stand out, get noticed, and be remembered. The competition is so fierce and making smart connections can help you cut through the clutter. Social media marketing and showing up at events where you have the opportunity to meet people in-person even for five minutes can be a game changer. A lot can happen in five minutes if you are prepared.

Having an education, degree, or certification is not enough

The benefits of having an education are well documented with regard to better pay, jobs, self-esteem, and potential long-term job satisfaction. The degree is only your starting point because it's not enough these days. Your “Marketing Yourself" Plan lays out how you are going to get yourself out there to let the right people know you exist and are someone they should seriously consider.

Don’t send a generic cover letter and resume that doesn’t tell your story

I have participated in several virtual and in-person job fairs, and the cover letters and resumes I see are not being utilized as marketing tools. If used correctly, they can really get people’s attention and interest either as an introduction or a follow up. Generic resume templates are job search killers. They should be customized to tell the story of your accomplishments and how you achieved them in a more personal way. Resumes should be shorter, more focused, attention grabbing, and generate interest in you.

Waiting for things to happen is not a strategy

So, you posted your cover letter and resume on several of the job sites, where it basically goes into a deep black hole and you wait and wait. Did you research the companies before you sent your resume and cover letter to really get to know more about them and their leadership? Did you use that information to customize your cover letter and tweak your resume to show why you are a great fit? Did you connect with the key players via LinkedIn? Hope is not a strategy without action. The more you do to market yourself, the more activity and interest you create.

Go to more in-person networking events to build connections

This to me is the deal breaker. There is nothing that will ever take the place of meeting people in-person and making that kind of connection. The online world is an amazing bridge and compliment, but meeting in-person can leave a lasting impression about you and your personality. Preparing your “What do you do?” answer, having a business card, or getting theirs, and following up in 48 hours through email and LinkedIn shows savvy and initiative.

Take social recruitment very seriously

The goal is to blend your in-person and online networking to stay in touch, grow relationships, and market yourself. What is your online footprint right now? Google yourself and you will see. Update and professionalize the social profiles you are active on (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+). Make sure your pictures, data, and activity are current. Focus on the social networks that fit best for you and who you want to be connected to. Many jobs are not posted on job boards. Instead, they are among the people engaging online, so be there and benefit.

Get started on your 'Market Yourself' Plan

Start with No. 1 LinkedIn, with 238 million members in more than 200 countries around the world, and the career and job search pages of About.com. These can be great starting points for you. Be proactive about “moving your career in the direction you want it to go." It’s the biggest, most exciting adventure of your life. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

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