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How to market yourself

Knowing how to sell yourself to potential employers is crucial. Here’s some great advice on how best to market your own unique skill set.

With youth employment being at an all time low, students can be forgiven for being pessimistic about securing a job. But while it is true that the employment market is tough, both the technology and engineering sectors are in fact facing a shortage of good people to employ. There are opportunities out there but just like any new product or brand, job seekers need to be marketed. Knowing how to sell yourself to potential employers is crucial.

Your brand

Think of yourself as a unique, branded product and know what characteristics set you apart from your competition. What are these things - are you a problem solver with the ability to resolve issues before they become complex? If so, share this at the interview stage - this will show a business that they will have fewer issues to fix. If you can demonstrate this with a solid example from a previous job or from your time at university, that’s even better. Ensure that you have a list of all the things that form the ‘you’ brand ready for that next interview.

Network!

When you are looking for work, try and think of ways to develop your skills and network of contacts. There are plenty of organisations, such as the IET and Women in Technology that offer free networking events, and training courses which will help with your people skills, but that also put you in front of people who could assist you in your career. As they say, it’s not what you know but who you know, so try and talk to as many people as possible.

Making the most of social media

With the boom in social media showing no signs of letting up, there are now far more opportunities to really sell yourself to potential employers. Creating a LinkedIn profile is a great way to keep in touch with old and new contacts, and to have a professional online presence that will make it easier for employers to find you.

Even if you don’t have much experience, this will show that you’re professional and serious about finding a job. Plenty of businesses and recruitment consultancies are also advertising jobs and seeking potential candidates through channels like Facebook, and Twitter, so build them into your job search. Sign up to job feeds on Twitter - you will instantly be able to see when a position goes live. Do some research on which organisations have Facebook fan pages and follow them to receive updates and vacancy information.

Social media is also about engagement - it can be a great platform to showcase you as being knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Start talking to employers through Twitter or Facebook, and stand out from the crowd by commenting on issues they are discussing. Not only will this show you are up to speed on the industry, but it may also lead to conversations about career opportunities they have. Blogging is also a hot topic at the moment; plenty of candidates are now turning to blogs to discuss industry trends, or even their job search. By promoting a blog through social media you will begin to get an audience and be seen as a commentator in your field, and someone that is keen to find work.

Got the job? Add value to your employer

So once you’ve secured your job how do you market yourself and really add value to your employer?  Make yourself visible and remember that everything you do matters. In any business personal branding is always through ‘word of mouth’. It is important to remember that everyone you come into contact with is your marketing vehicle. It is what they say about you and the way you work that will feed back to your line manager.

It may seem obvious but it is important not to forget the basics – always present yourself well, make sure you are meeting or where possible beating deadlines, and remain professional at all times. You may have secured a great job, but remember there will always be a probationary period. Ensure you are open and honest about your workload and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It will show your eagerness to learn and provide top quality work – ultimately adding value to the organisation.

If there are new projects you have ideas for, or might be able to get involved with, volunteer for them. This will show your enthusiasm for the job, but also make you visible within the business. Prove you can work well with others but also help and suggest advice when others are struggling.

Lastly, stay positive. It takes time to find the right job, especially when businesses are recovering from a tough time during the recession. But by making an effort to market yourself in your job hunt, and continuing to do so when you secure a position, you will give yourself the best chance of having a long and successful career.

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