20 Nov 2017 21:06 IST

Market yourself as an industry-ready candidate

It is important to create a brand for yourself and maintain it consistently

Competition has always been a harsh reality of the job market. Today, with the workplace being redefined by the open talent economy and a shifting dynamic future, it is imperative that even qualified candidates make it clear why they are the best option.

The need is to think like a marketer in creating a campaign for your job search. Like any marketing campaign, this involves assessing your strengths to develop an effective brand with unique differentiators that sustain through the entire selection process.

Defining your personal brand

What are your strong points? What are your true accomplishments?

Analysing the qualitative and critical appreciation you have received in terms of skills, capabilities and behaviours can provide a focused view of the strengths that you can project in your resume and interviews.

Performance and potential are not complete without the motivation that drives an individual. Knowing what excites you about the career you are looking for will bring much-needed credibility and authenticity to your performance in the selection processes. As abstract as it may seem at first, this is serious work that requires honest introspection and clear articulation. It is what brings your brand alive in your resume, cover letter and the interviews. It will also help you accept the right offer for the right reasons.

Authenticity

Your resume is the first and most important marketing collateral. It is the key to entering the mind-space of the recruiter and the decision maker; do they want to see more of you, or not at all.

This requires significant homework: what are the skills required for the role you are applying for? Which among them resonate the strongest with your acknowledged skills and strengths? Identify and present these clearly in your resume, with assertion and without frills. Use examples to succinctly but effectively reinforce your points.

If your resume is the first advertisement that pitches for you, your interviews are the actual demonstration of your claim to excellence. Therefore, consistency in presentation is important. Especially in interviews, sharing success stories that demonstrate your capabilities will engage the interviewers better and tell them that you are capable of applying your strengths to workplace situations. There are many tools that help you effectively script your story, for example, the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Nurturing your brand

Beyond the here and now of job applications, interviews, and offers, you need to consistently market your brand on a sustained medium and long-term basis.

Creating an online and social media presence in the right channels is a distinct advantage. Networking is an all-powerful marketing tool, and it is important to adapt to the new ways of networking.

Your online presence must be consistent while also adding value to your brand, right from the photo you choose to display to your primary branding statement, and the profile you post of yourself. If relevant, it may also be a good idea to create an online portfolio of your capabilities and work.

Do you have an elevator pitch on yourself? It is good to have a ‘less-than-a-minute’ account about your capabilities and experience. You can also use this effectively during networking events.

The internet is a great enabler to create and maintain relationships. Attending industry events will also help you connect face-to-face with people and forge relationships.

Stay updated

Today’s business landscape is changing rapidly and disruptively, and the crucial need to stay updated on what is happening in your industry and function cannot be over-emphasised. Be it through reading (industry publications, blogs and websites), learning programmes. or networking in relevant associations, enrich yourself with strong knowledge and awareness of current and future trends.

Apart from making the right impression with the people that matter, it will also help guide and direct you to equip yourself for your career ahead. You can also reassess your skills regularly and fill knowledge gaps.

All of the above can make you ready to land the job of your dreams, but unless you are smart, and target your search you will be squandering your potential and skills in the wrong places and to the wrong audiences.

Create a focused list of organisations where you would like to work. Join the right and relevant professional groups and industry associations. Attend value-adding networking events. Unleash your well-crafted resume and elevator pitch to the right audience and watch yourself landing the jobs of your choice.