In the time it takes you to read this chapter, US$11.5m of global advertising spend will take place*. With this sort of money being spent on all types of product promotion, it’s easy to see that companies take brand management very seriously. They will spend vast resources promoting and protecting these brands, hoping to educate consumers within their chosen demographic of the specific attributes that make their product or service superior to the competitors.
You As A Product And Brand
You are also a product, therefore a brand! As the latest BMW 7 Series has certain specific and quantifiable features designed to entice a certain level of the market to purchase, so do you! It is therefore vital for candidates to understand that they are in essence a ‘Sales / Marketing Manager’ of arguably the most important product they can ever sell – Them! From the start, have the same mindset selling yourself, as you would selling an internationally renowned product or service.
As any competent marketing manager would do with the products and services under their watch, you need to fairly assess your strengths and quantify these, so they can be easily and quickly communicated to an employer. As with the standard ‘elevator pitch’, candidates need to be able to quickly and succinctly define quantitative examples of previous success, as well as be able to provide a strong summary of potential ‘added value’ for the recruiter / employer.
As a company researches markets and assesses trends, so must you also look at ways to tailor your resume and entire recruitment approach to meet the varied needs of the customer. This customer will vary widely from individual recruiters through to senior level corporate figures, all with different expectations about what the need is and the best ‘fit’ for the company.
You Are The Solution!
When an employer advertises for a Sales Consultant, they are not actually seeking a person to go out and knock on doors and speak to potential customers. They are after a mechanism that will generate more sales for the business!
When an employer advertises for an Accountant, they are not actually seeking a person to 'number crunch'. They are after a mechanism that will ensure accurate reporting of their financial affairs to their shareholders and the government.
Thinking in this context, an employer is seeking a solution to an issue. It just happens that on many occasions the best solution is a human being as they are versatile and relatively resourceful.
When you work through this book, think about the type of role that you would like to have, and try to identify ways to become the ‘specific solution’ that the employer is seeking.
Your Value Proposition
It is vital to ensure prospective ‘purchasers’ (employers) understand your value proposition and what you can add to their organisation. Sadly too many people who are ‘Ferraris’ market themselves through the CV and interview process as ‘bicycles’. The recruiter / manager can only judge you on the information supplied, therefore if you are not ‘selling’ yourself to your full potential, you are not giving the employers enough information to make a fair decision.
Defining Your Unique Selling Points
Imagine if Tiger Woods wrote his CV stating:
Responsibilities: Hit ball
Hit ball again
Tap ball lightly
Tap ball into hole
- this would not sell him to potential employers!!! It does not demonstrate his immense value and achievements that stem from this seemingly mundane activity!
Defining your achievements is not as difficult as it sounds. Thank about instances where you made a difference to your organisation. Examples include:
- Did you exceed your monthly / annual sales budget? If so, by what $ value or %?
- Were you responsible for managing key clients? If so, who? Effectively developing and managing key relationships with firms such asMicrosoft, HSBC and Sovereign Assurance carry a lot more weight than Jims Tyre Center.
- Did you receive any awards or internal / external recognition of sales success?
- What project value / budgets have you been responsible formanaging? E.g. If you project managed the construction of a new building worth $10M, this gives an understanding of the trust that was awarded as well as your level of competence.
- Were you chosen for a particular project outside of your standard role? Why were you chosen and what were the results?
- Have you delivered proposals, talks or presentations? If so, to an audience of what size?
- Have you had any articles, papers or features published in any magazines, journals or books? If so, what publications and when?
- Were you involved in the development of new systems in a business? If so, what were the processes and how did these positively affect thebusiness?
- Was there a quantifiable difference in the company / business unit between when you first joined and when you finished?
- Were you successful in reducing customer complaints? If so, how did you achieve this?
- Did you receive any external / customer accolades?
- How many direct and indirect reports have you been responsible for?
- Did you complete any coaching or mentoring of staff members? Were there any specific positive results that came from this?
- Did you increase staff retention due to your management style? If so, by what %?
Voluntary / Community Support
- Have you given any of your free time to worthy organisations or groups? What direct input have you had?
- Were you awarded any extra authority in a position? For example, you may have commenced as a Production Manager, then been awarded with full control of quality assurance for the firm after six months.
It’s all about the sell!
We need to manage our career search in the same way a professional sales consultant would approach a potential customer. Ensure your brochure (resume) is tailored to the opportunity and that you are secure in your unique selling points, communicating them confidently. Remember -
your brand is valuable!
*Global ad spending was forecasted to grow 6% to US$605 billion, according to Robert Coen, chief forecaster at Interpublic Group's Universal McCann.
Tom O’Neil is Managing Director of CV.CO.NZ (NZ) Limited is a leading international career specialist and contributor in CV preparation and career achievement to various global career guides and software packages.
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