By Diane Hudson
You read about "Brand You," "Personal Branding," and the use of social media to "Build Your Brand" ... but do you really think that way?
One of the harder aspects of a great job search is learning to think about yourself in terms of what an employer wants. See the value you can add to the employer.
That understanding of your value to an employer is the foundation of the idea of "You As a Product." Most of us never think of ourselves that way, but it is quite useful for a successful job search.
Personal sales sounds kind of creepy, but we are surrounded by sales pitches every day, almost every minute. Ignoring those techniques for a job search means you aren't leveraging the quickest way to bring yourself to the attention of employers while demonstrating that you understand what works today.
So, what does "me as a product" mean to you?
First, think about products we commonly use and see advertised. A car is basically a transportation method designed to get you and your family, groceries, or whatever - to somewhere. But no car company advertises that way in the USA.
This car ad appeals to those who want to go fast. That one ups your sex appeal. Another is young and fun, and still another keeps your family safe. Car companies seek to understand their markets, and they use that knowledge to sell a car to consumers.
You know this game. You see it with military equipment too. And this is the same game you need to play when you are looking for work.
Yes, you can learn to think of yourself as a product. Better yet, you can create a "Great Product" by understanding yourself and your target market!
Define yourself in terms that will appeal to the employers you are targeting.
YES! You must have target employers! Can a mission succeed without a target? NO!
A data analyst who wants to work in a large government contractor will present a very different resume and picture of her background than one who aspires to join a Silicon Valley start-up.
These are both simple examples to give you a basic idea of the concept of "you as a product."
And yes, the same person could be interested in two such different markets, with two significantly different resumes - each focused on aspects of his or her background appropriate to the target employer.
Start by learning all you can about your target market:
Once you understand the market, you can look at what you offer in their terms.
This means thinking about your past successes in depth. Mine each for the aspects which are most closely related to your targets’ needs. Remember that you are a unique combination of knowledge, skills, experience, and attitudes.
Too often we present a flat picture of our history, and call it a resume. But employers want to know what you can do for them in terms which they understand. They want you to show why they should hire you.
Your past successes tell you all sorts of these things. Your resume should capture these attributes as surely as it captures your technical skills, upward progression, or management prowess.
Take your military experience and other knowledge and skills and present them in the lingo of your preferred job. Don’t fear that all you knew was a war zone or work you no longer are interested in.
Tap into sites specifically designed to help you translate skills into job options. Check out:
If you are the product – what product are you offering? And what is your target market? Figure that out first and make your opportunities GROW!
Patra Frame has extensive experience in human capital management and career issues in large and small corporations. She is an Air Force vet and charter member of The Women In Military Service for America Memorial. Patra speaks and writes regularly on job search and career issues through her company Strategies for Human Resources (SHRInsight) and PatraFrame.com where she blogs advice for veterans and other job seekers. Watch Patra's ClearedJobs.net job search tips videos on YouTube, and follow her on Twitter @2Patra and on Google+.