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How to Market Yourself

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Working out how to market yourself is a challenging process to go through. How you approach it depends on the situation you are in and where you are trying to get to.

For example, if you are in a job but want to be promoted then the way you would go about it would be quite different to the way you would go about marketing yourself in order to get as job in the first place. Similarly you would use different tactics to market yourself as a freelance worker than if you felt you were a potential media star.

Foundation Work to Market Yourself

But there are some common threads to the foundation work you will have to do before deciding on the presentation method. You need to work out what it is that you have to sell, before then deciding how and where you will sell it.

To find out what you have (or, more importantly, what you don't have) start by sitting down and making a list of your best qualities. Once you've made yourself feel good it's time to list the things where you think you fall short.

Listing Positives and Negatives

Run back through your past, thinking about achievements and what they say about you. For example, if you won prizes at school in both team and individual events, then they demonstrate that you can be self-motivated to win and also achieve as a team player. If you are looking for your first job, this will be of interest to employers.

When considering the more negative points, try to be objective. If something went wrong and you lost a team event, for example, how much of it was really your fault? If you behave petulantly and aggravated the best players, then you might need to work at that. If you and the team all did your best but were beaten by better players, then don't beat yourself up about it.

Seek Feedback on Your Attributes

You then need to get a third party perspective on those lists. Ask family or friends whose opinions you respect to look at your lists and see how realistic they think they are. If you are in a competitive situation at work then it might not be best to open this out to colleagues, but if you have a manager who works as a mentor for you then you could discuss it with them.

You might get some surprises when you talk to others, hopefully they'll be pleasant ones. In the longer term you might want to do some personal development work on the areas where people have agreed you don't perform well, but that takes time and for now it's best to focus on the positives.

Where and How to Market Yourself

Then look at how and where you are going to present these positive skills and attributes when you market yourself. If you're looking for employment then your CV is the place to concentrate, and once you have a good one make sure you modify it slightly to emphasis the items that are more likely to be of interest to each employer.

You should also focus on what your skills would achieve for an employer and detail those too. For example, if you think you are good at building relationships with customers, say that taking you on will lead to greater customer satisfaction figures.

Different Ways to Market Yourself

If you are looking to promote yourself at an existing workplace then focus on your positive attributes and make sure they come through in the work that you do. Don't overplay a promotion push and become obsequious, but it's ok to let people know you feel you're ready to move on. Try to avoid allowing those less well-honed aspects of your character to show themselves too.

For people working to achieve something in a wider arena, working for themselves or promoting themselves in the media or arts, then the key to presenting yourself is networking. People in these fields often talk about their lucky breaks but very often the breaks come about as a result of putting hard work into perfecting what they do, then getting out and about to make sure people know they are good at it.

Networking – Both Online and Offline

In the modern world the internet is now a great help and a concerted push on blogs and all the social networking sites will get you noticed. Don’t let it all go stale though, you have to keep it vibrant. Make sure that what you are saying fits in with the image you want to project and those positive aspects of yourself that you listed earlier.

But it's not all about technology and getting out there and 'pressing the flesh' will be required too. Wangle your way into events and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and hand out business cards if it's appropriate.

Get Ready for ActionFinally, make sure you have an 'elevator speech' handy. Imagine you are in an elevator with someone you could, if you impressed them enough, make all your dreams come true. They ask you 'what do you do?' What do you say?

Umming and aahing for thirty seconds won’t cut the mustard, so make sure you can answer this question with a short, description of what you can do for them. Practice until it trips off the tongue in a natural way. Then whenever you are networking with people and they ask what you do you will always be ready with the right answer.

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