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5 Personal Marketing Ideas For Job Hunters

digital job hunting personal branding May 17, 2021
5 Personal Marketing Ideas For Job Hunters

There is something I hear almost weekly from my clients. They usually say they are not good at selling themselves at work and that it becomes even worse when job hunting.

There are several reasons why one can feel personal marketing is not their thing. The common beliefs are:

  • Focusing on competencies that you don't have instead of your strengths and current skillset.
  • Comparing yourself to others all the time.
  • Living by what others would think of you if you show off.
  • Believing you are not enough - there is always one missing certificate or experience.
  • General complaining about how terrible your job is, but doing nothing to change due to fear of leaving the comfort zone.

I found a great definition of what personal marketing is in this blog:

Personal marketing is composed by a set of strategies that aim to enhance your professional and personal characteristics. It is not about creating a fake profile, but highlighting the aspects that are more relevant about you and the work you are developing.

Here is a fact about personal marketing: there are convenient time and audience for reinforcing your achievements and strengths, especially during a recruiting process. The best occasions are when you're reaching out to connections for referrals and at job interviews.

I've put together 5 personal marketing ideas and actions you can take on your next job hunting period.

There is nothing more ineffective than reaching out to a recruiter or hiring manager and straightly asking them for a job. To be honest, they don't care about you if they don't know you. Your request will probably never be taken.

Instead of cold calling them, be adaptable and focus on your contribution.

Answer 2 simple questions:

1. What's the quickest, most valuable win the hiring company can gain from one of your key competencies?

2. What's the hiring company's most painful challenge you can resolve based on your work experience and skills? 

If you're able to answer them smoothly and engage in a productive conversation, the other part may feel attracted to you. It's about your potential to help that company achieve results, not about you and your unemployment or unhappiness at your current job.

We're living the digital revolution. If your LinkedIn profile holds ZERO given and received recommendations, take action NOW.

One of the underused resources on LinkedIn is the recommendations section. It is possible to give and ask for recommendations regarding past and current jobs and also in studies. Usually, recruiters and hiring managers will look for your profile on social media. So, work on your reputation.

One recurring question I get is whom to ask, when, and how. See below how I usually do:

  • For whom to ask: coworkers, managers, customers, suppliers, etc. Think of the people who really made a difference in your history and who would publicly validate your professional and academic experience.
  • When to ask: Whenever possible, don't expect to be looking for opportunities. Do it regularly. Remember that no one is going to guess that you want a recommendation, so ask them.
  • How to ask: when you access your profile, go to the recommendations section and look for the link to ask for recommendations. The next step is to locate the person within your contacts (you need to be connected in 1st degree with him) and choose the relationship between you (the possible relationships appear in a dropdown list). LinkedIn itself will add a standard text, but delete it and write a personalized message. It improves your chance of being answered.

Pro tip: What is really more effective is to invert the process. Instead of asking for a recommendation, contact your connection first and ask them if you can recommend them. After they say "yes", recommend them and then ask one back. This is applying the reciprocity style right away.

The steps for giving a recommendation are the same. A typical doubt is what to write. I always vote for authenticity — fewer monotone texts and templates and more of your essence when writing. I usually focus on the professional's positive aspects and how they have somehow transformed our work environment - for the business or me - while working with them.

Giving and receiving recommendations helps build your profile, your personal brand, improves your professional self-esteem, and can help you identify and understand your strengths.

Networking is an infamous word. I know many out there really hate forced networking. But think about networking for a while. Put yourself into the hiring manager's shoes. 

Who would you call for an interview if you only had time to see 1 person: the unknown professional who applied online or the referred candidate by one of your connections?

"Employers don't always reach for resumes first. They prefer to hire people they know or have a strong connection to, so when an opportunity opens up they are more likely to look within their company or seek a recommendation from someone within their company. An unsolicited resume from a stranger isn't going to be as appealing.

Many if not most employers hunt for job hunters in the exact opposite way from how most job hunters hunt for them." from the book What Color is Your Parachute 2021.

Articulating with the right people and telling them about your moment and what you're looking for will make a difference in your job hunting period.

If you're on the other side of the table and want to help your connections, use this narrative:

"If you've lost your job (or you are at risk), and we've worked together at any time, studied together, or crossed paths in other ways, please get in touch and let me know how I can be of help.

- Can I connect you to a person or company?

- Can I endorse some of your skills?

- Need a pick-me-up conversation?

- Could you use a sounding board, a brainstorm, or a second pair of eyes?"

Job hunting is energy-draining and if you want to help someone, open the door to networking.

When you get a job interview, focus on your achievements and what you do best.

Achievements are measurable results. Variables like time and money can measure everything you have delivered in your career. Use them!

There is an easy way of extracting measurable results, which is using the X-Y-Z formula:

The X-Y-Z Formula is: Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].".

To give you an idea of how this formula is really simple and you how you can use it, see the steps below.


X: What problem did you solve? What did you achieve?


Y: How it can be measured by numbers (time, money, people, etc)?


Z: How did you solve or helped to solve the problem? 

Here it is an example to help you write your measurable results:

SKILL = Legal Strategic Planning

"Creation of a Holding through the study of the most favorable jurisdiction considering the quantity and diversity of the jurisdictions of the Group's companies, leading to cost reductions of up to 20%."

X = Creation of a Holding

Y = leading to cost reductions of up to 20%

Z = through the study of the most favorable jurisdiction considering the quantity and diversity of the jurisdictions of the Group's companies.

Think about your best friend. Someone that is there for you at low-friendship-maintenance. Now think the other way round. When it comes to corporations, businesses, and personal marketing, those who are not actively networking are quickly forgotten.

Instead of waiting to be contacted, try something new. Register for a new event in your working field, call that colleague you got well together on your last job. Nurturing relationships will serve for your plans and the counterparts as well if you focus on contribution, leaving your ego at home for a while.

Well, I hope to have given you many insights and actions you can take now to shift your job hunting period. 


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