Thursday, March 02, 2006

Marketing yourself…yuck

I realize that today’s title flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Current job search literature is replete with admonitions to market and brand yourself, the end result being a coherent product ready for employers to pick off the shelf, as it were.

Personally, however, I find the idea mildly repugnant. And a number of Calvin students seem to agree. Modesty rules, putting us at a seeming disadvantage in job search situations.

But, there’s nothing wrong with communicating who you are, right? I mean, how else will an employer know who they’re hiring?

So, in lieu of marketing yourself, may I suggest the following strategy:

Make it a point to collect quotes, verbal or written, about yourself. Think back to times in the past when someone said something like, “Wow, you really captured the essence of that complex theory and distilled it to its essence. The rest of the class understood it much better after you explained it.”  Or, how about a comment such as this.  “Thanks for dealing with that angry customer. I couldn’t believe how you were able to calm her down enough to even listen to you. And I was shocked when she actually went away happy!”

The point is—this stuff gets you off the hook. No need to market yourself when others have basically done that for you.

And the quotes come in amazingly handy in real life situations, anything from cover letters or job fairs to networking functions. Or think of extracting a phrase to add as a tag line on your resume. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.

Used this approach before? Email your story to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 03/02 at 01:30 PM
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