I always thought marketing was kinda cheesy, fake and pretentious, and that there was some magic formula that I was not privy to in order to succeed at this.
And to be honest, growing up, I never really saw my face or experience reflected in marketing campaigns. Especially in fashion where my focus was, both growing up, and in the past 20 years of my career.
Marketing didn’t ring true for me. I pictured tall white men in ill-fitting business suits, with shiny shoes and pocket handkerchiefs sitting around a boardroom table, deciding what would be on the cover of this months issue of British Vogue.
So I avoided it, but yet I was a part of an industry that relies heavily on marketing.
And to market myself, still feels like a foreign concept, until I shifted my perspective.
My resume, to me, wasn’t a marketing tool. It was a list of all my skills and experiences pertaining to a certain career path. Things I could physically prove I could do in a work environment, and that validated my pay check, my reason for being there.
But with the rise of storytelling, this seemed like a far more authentic way in which to show my skill set and communicate what I am passionate about, in order for me to find my next experience (see previous blog post!), and to live into what I want to be doing with my life.
Below are 5 ways that I’ve started to use as ways of marketing myself, that feel genuine and authentic.
1: Set Clear Goals.
For me, this is still a little murky, but the more I talk about how I want to live my life, the more I am living into it and goals emerge from this.
I went and saw Oprah on her ‘Your Path Made Clear (Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose)’ book tour last month. She started her talk off by saying, “I’m here to remind you of what you already know.”
And she’s right.
We already know what it is we are meant to be doing. But for a lot of us, it is buried beneath layers of expectations, of should’s, of culture, of beliefs, of conversations you had when you were 10 years old, of life.
And of late, I’ve learnt that once you have that inkling of what it is, to bring it out. Start talking about it. See if it sits well within you. And know, that if the first thing that comes to mind isn’t quite right, you can tweak, change, or pivot in another direction. It’s not set in stone.
For me, this is one of my biggest challenges, as there is so much that I want to do, that it’s hard for me to pinpoint just one thing. But I’ve learnt, that you can do more than one.
It’s not this OR that. It can be this AND that.
2: Transferable Skills.
What have you done in your previous roles, that can contribute to your new goals?
Say you would like to be a manager. A manger that guides, mentors and supports others in their role. What have you done in your past, what are you currently doing that contributes to this goal of being a manager? Have you volunteered at an event where you managed others? Have you taken any communication courses? Or looking at your current role, is there someone you could mentor? Or what have you experienced in your past by being managed? Have you experienced a great manager that supported you or a not-so-great manager that didn’t?
Presenting these skills on your resume, or to your current manager, is a more genuine way of showing that you are motivated to achieve your goal/s. And if you can story tell, and relay how you used these skills in a specific situation, this shows your manager, or potential employer that you indeed posses these skills.
3: Use Authentic language.
I guess this is just another way of saying, be yourself with the language you feel comfortable with, whilst maintaining a level of professionalism.
The thesaurus can be your best friend!
Also, take care of where you use technical jargon. For example, I could talk about adding articulation into a jacket sleeve with my colleagues within a fitting, however, if I were to communicate this to a recruiter, they may not understand what I am talking about (depending on their background), and you may lose their interest. So, it is best to use terminology that everyone is familiar with. I could say to the recruiter, that I wanted to create a sleeve that fitted to the body’s natural form.
Be honest about your skill set.
What level have you achieved? What you would like to achieve? How you are going about achieving said goals.
You may be asked to prove your skills in a test during an interview.
This can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on how honest you were in your resume.
If you are over zealous with your level of say, Excel proficiency, and you are required to create a formulated spreadsheet and you fall short, or the opposite, where you were too humble in your expertise and you designed a colour coded, formulated spreadsheet with graphics, you may not be asked back for a second interview because you did not meet the level stated on the job description because you were under or over qualified.
5: Believe in yourself.
And your abilities.
This sits right up there with #1.
If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect a prospective employer too?
You may look amazing on paper, and fit their job requirements to a ’T’, but if your persona doesn’t match your resume, you may not be invited to proceed further into the interview process.
This is not about bragging or inflating your ego.
This is about that quiet, self assured confidence of knowing who you are, where your boundaries lie and acknowledging your strengths as well as your weaknesses and being comfortable in saying, “Yes, I am proficient/amazing/exceptional in this skill.
Whether you are looking for a new opportunity, or wanting to advance in your current company, becoming clear on your goals and believing in yourself will create a more genuine and authentic marketing experience of your personal brand. It’s about creating that connection between your self and your skills and your goal/s.
Feel free to let me know in the comments below, how you create a genuine and authentic connection when marketing your self!
This article was inspired by a conversation I had with a new connection via LinkedIn whom I reached out to in order to figure out what my goals are, and also by a therapist who encouraged me to think of the AND and not the OR.