Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a web-based platform that combines search, social networking, and the overall user’s experience to provide relevant job openings. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Call it self-marketing, personal branding, professional development, or any other buzzword you'd like. In any case, both finding a job and climbing the career ladder are all about investing in the business of you.
As a professional, you are a brand unto yourself. The target market for the unique value you provide are employers who are constantly bombarded with messages from your competitors (read: other industry professionals) and also always on the lookout for innovation. Develop and market your personal brand effectively by using traditional marketing techniques.
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The 4 Ps of Traditional Marketing
Though the boundaries of traditional marketing no longer exist due to online media and new digital technologies, its core tactics can be reworked to guide your self-marketing strategy online.
The four Ps of marketing are product, price, promotion and place. In the realm of self-marketing, you are the product that's up for sale, which means you must successfully apply the traditional marketing model to you: the person, the professional and the brand.
Product: Be Consistent and Recognizable
To develop an online self-marketing strategy, you must determine who you are as a professional and build a personal brand around your core strengths, skills and experience. What do you bring to the table that others in your industry do not? Know your strengths and play to them by creating a consistent brand around yourself that's complete with mission, objectives and recognizable visual brand elements. Today's hiring managers are social consumers who are more apt to hire you based on the experience you're selling rather than your ability to carry out a few specific tasks.
Just as you instantly know a can of Coca-Cola when you see one (and know what to expect once it's open), your audience should know exactly what you bring to the table and what they're getting by working with you. Whether you've branded yourself as a no-nonsense people mover who's apt at managing staff, or an industry expert and consultant who provides fresh insights and innovates the way a company operates, be consistent. Decide on your core messages and stick to one brand name.
Price: Know Your Value
The importance of this element in online self-marketing is twofold. In addition to accounting for the value you add to an organization, you must decide what you, the hard-working professional, are worth and what your bottom line is -- particularly if you ever decide to freelance or become an independent contractor.
Based on your accomplishments and experiences, your expertise comes with a price tag in the form of a salary. Decide what you're worth based on how much others in your industry are being paid for the work they perform, and be resolute about how much you're willing to accept. Every time you step foot into a store and buy a product, the price is more or less the same, so your hourly rate or salary requirements align with your industry and level of experience in a similar fashion.
Place: Recognize Your Niche
In traditional marketing, products were distributed across geographic regions. As a professional, you are only one person. Thus, it's critical that you select a sphere of influence and stick with it, though it could be based on industry or knowledge base as much as geography. Be realistic about where your target audience spends their time. Research who needs your services and where they participate online. Spreading yourself too thin across communities and niches where your products and services aren't needed will only make more work for you ... with little reward.
Promotion: Communicate Your Brand
This final tactic is arguably one of the most important. How will you communicate your messages to the market you've targeted? Selecting the appropriate mediums means the difference between being heard loud and clear or getting lost in the clutter.
To make this critical decision, turn your attention back to your intended audience. For instance, if you're a freelance web developer who provides consulting services for interactive agencies, promoting yourself online through an online portfolio and via social media is a more effective strategy than it would be for someone who makes a living running errands for the elderly.
Determine where members of your target audience get their information and make sure your messages are present on these channels. Again, whether that means building a website to market your services or running an ad on a local newspaper’s website or blog, the most effective tactic depends entirely on your audience. Use every necessary option in your self-marketing toolkit to get the job done right.
New technologies have dramatically shaped our social and professional interactions; however, to adequately market yourself, you must consider the precepts of traditional marketing. Whether you're looking for a job or desire to be considered an expert in your industry, you can meet your objectives by building a brand around yourself -- effectively leaving a memorable first impression and making people want to learn more about you.
How else can you make your self-marketing strategy more effective based on the four P’s of traditional marketing?
Social Media Job Listings
Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we've selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!
- Social Media Analytics Manager at Ogilvy Washington in DC
- Social Media Editor at Omaze in Santa Monica, Calif.
- Engineering Manager at Yelp in San Francisco
This story originally published on Mashable here.