Your career is a business, so market it

Your career is a business, so market it

The workforce is constantly changing and restructuring so taking an active role in marketing your career is essential.

Start by thinking of your career as a business. It needs a career plan and marketing strategy that ensures you get noticed, and positions you as an expert who can easily be found. Remember, you’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description. You are the CEO of your own “company”, and the marketing manager of your career.

You’re responsible for your own branding and career advancement. So how do you “brand” yourself? Start with the below:

Develop a career strategy. Approach your career just like a business plan by taking a look at your goals, target audience and key communication.

Determine your career goals. Do you want to become a board member? Are you looking to design your career around a personal passion? Get back into work after time off? Get a promotion or even become a mentor? Write down your career goals and the timeframes you’d want to achieve them by.

Find the influencers of your career. Think about who can help you achieve your goals. They can be executives, co-workers, the CEO, board members, influencers in key departments and industries, peers, recruiters, friends, your manager, HR director or even your next door neighbour.

Establish your personal brand. Personal branding is how you market yourself to others. Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. You want your influencers to clearly understand who you are and what you’re known for. To figure out your personal brand start with “your one thing” – the heart and soul of your brand.

If Apple is innovation, Richard Branson is entrepreneurship, Layne Beachley is determination – what are you? Do you want to be “professional”, “humorous”, “hard-working”, “affordable”, “high-end”?

Work on your platform. To build your profile you need to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader in a specific field, so you need to decide your niche or platform.

Create your personal message. This encapsulates your “one thing”, platform, and the essence of you. My personal message is: I use public relations and social media tools to inspire businesses and people to help them achieve their dreams.

Career marketing tools: What you’ll need to get started

A professional photo. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t use a photo from the last wedding you went to with a glass of champagne in your hand.

Google. Googling yourself is crucial for two reasons: You need to virtually exist, and you need to know what information there is online that could negatively affect your reputation. Most people find that the top search results for their name fall into three categories: negative, irrelevant, and “Hey, that’s not me”. Or, you may not even have any search results. All four of these results can damage your reputation. If you don’t even rate a mention, and you’re going for a role that requires you to have a profile, then that’s going to impact your promotion.

Google alerts. A Google alert will send an email when your name appears online in a news article or blog post. It’s important to keep up-to-date with which Google indexes could affect you. I use this to keep track of industry news also.

Domain name and personal website. Owning your own URL will give you more control of your online identity. It’s easy to do, and domain names usually cost no more than $10 a year. These URLs show up high in searches for your name. Even if you’re not planning to create a personal website, you’ll prevent others from buying the domain and hijacking Google search results for you. You can also claim a free URL using a blogging platform such as WordPress or Blogger. You can showcase your expertise, portfolio, and market yourself through the work you have done – essentially like an online CV. You can add your other social media sites to this site as well. All up, a great way to control the information about you online in one central place.

Basic search engine optimisation. Link all your online content to one another. Include a link on LinkedIn to your Twitter and Facebook profile and get any media appearances on your personal blog. Taking these steps gives your content a huge boost in search engine rankings.

This article was first published on LeadingCompany’s sister site, Women’s Agenda.

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