Career Success: Why you have to be a salesperson

I recently worked with a highly experienced professional who was having a tough time with the concept of marketing himself. After our initial strategy session, I diligently created an attention-getting, achievement-packed career biography only to hear the comment, “I don’t like this – I mean, this looks like a career marketing document.” Huh?

Well, I was amused and somewhat baffled by that comment. Why, yes, it is a CAREER MARKETING document because whether you are launching a new job search, competing for a high-profile assignment or getting prepared for internal advancement, self-promotion is your best tool and “weapon” of choice.

Being modest, downplaying your strengths and underselling your value to employers and recruiters keeps you invisible and gets you nowhere.

Try this exercise:

1) Take a close look at your existing resume – are you telling the readers about what you do OR are you promoting your value proposition, emphasizing your strengths and supporting your marketing message with concrete career accomplishments?

2) Say your elevator pitch out loud – does it simply convey your name, where you have worked and the type of positions you want OR does it grab the listener’s attention with a unique value of promise and give some insight to your brand reputation?

3) Review your LinkedIn profile – is it a rehash of your professional resume and reads like a collection of job descriptions OR is it a SEO-optimized, branded career summary that can capture the attention of recruiters and employers in a few minutes?

4) Examine your job search strategies – are super-committed to the online boards and job sites OR are you proactively building new relationships with key contacts and attending strategic events to interface directly with decision makers and industry influencers?

5) Rate your recent interview performance – are you spending most of your time “telling” the interviewer about your tasks OR are you supporting your candidacy with real-life examples of company contributions through a Challenge-Action-Results format?

Like it or not, if you want to succeed in your industry, stand out among your peers, get hand-picked for unique initiatives ahead of your colleagues, it is ALL about sales and marketing.