While the pandemic is (hopefully) wrapping up, it did leave a profound impact on the job market with 225 million jobs lost globally in 2020. This hit to the economy highlighted some essential skill areas that most people had to learn from scratch in the height of the pandemic.
Amongst top skills like budgeting and learning how to deal with stress, many had to find a way to market their skill set to find new employment or attract business. Marketing one’s self requires quite a bit of self reflection; one must be able to identify both areas of strength and areas that could use a bit of attention.
In this post, we will highlight some tactics that not only give you a deeper understanding of your opportunities and risks, but also share some tips and tricks to advertise yourself to your target audience.
It may seem obvious to many, but figuring out what exactly you are good at and what you're not is a crucial part of marketing yourself. While many think of hard skills, like language and statistics, as skills that you must consider, taking a look at soft skills can go a long way as well.
In fact, a study done by the University of Michigan demonstrated that employees who receive soft skill training tend to have increased productivity and are a good return on investment for employers. By honing skill sets that complement any environment, like communication and time management skills, people are able to put their best foot forward and demonstrate the ability to be adaptable.
Soft skills can even pave the way for hard skill development, which brings us to our next area- finding your strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately leveraging a niche that interests you.
Hard skills are skills that can be used in a specific area or industry, and are typically learned through experience or education. Examining what hard skills you possess can really narrow down your job search or help you market your skills as a freelancer or small business owner.
For example, if you have the hard skill of social media management then you may want to consider job postings that have an emphasis on that skill such as a Digital Marketing Manager. Even if you are trying to promote your own business, analyzing the skill set of yourself and/or your employees will help you better position your company for success through diversification of tasks.
If you have ever been in an interview, you are familiar with the famous, “tell me about yourself” question. While some highlight name, education, interests, and prior experience in chronological order, coming up with a 30 second elevator pitch about yourself beforehand can ease some of the discomfort about reiterating your resume and help you stand out from the crowd by focusing on key aspects about yourself and the position.
An effective elevator pitch consists of three main areas- Who you are, how you fit the role, and what you want to gain from the position. By the time you are in the interviewing stage, the person on the other end of the conversation has already read your resume and has a rough idea of your education and experience. To stand out from other applicants, it is useful to have a quick introduction highlighting items they can’t pick out from just reading your prior experience- namely what you think you can offer and what you are looking to gain from them. In addition to wrapping up why you would be an ideal fit, having this 30-second summary can lead to conversations about skills and common goals that can further separate you from the competition.
An elevator pitch isn’t just for job seekers either. Small business owners can also greatly benefit from a condensed summary of what they do and how they can serve their clientele. In fact, attention spans today average at about 8 seconds for the average customer, which is significantly less time than the 30 second answer that job seekers have to influence a hiring manager.
By summarizing what your small business does and what your mission is in a condensed couple of sentences, you will have a higher chance of influencing your target audience as opposed to a long winded answer on how you got started and where you are now.
You may have heard “it’s all about who you know”- and the cliche has some weight to it. Not only does networking shorten the time needed to find employment, but there are also studies that indicate that networking has a positive effect on salary earned.
Networking can seem like a grueling task, filled with awkward pauses and intimidating higher-ups. But the good news is that it doesn’t need to be that way! You can maximize what you get out of networking and minimize uncomfortable situations by planning ahead and thinking about what you are hoping to accomplish through the interaction.
A tip for networking is to select people in an industry you are interested in and come up with questions for them beforehand. These questions shouldn’t be about a specific job posting, but the industry as a whole. Remember the point of networking is to connect with other professionals, not necessarily to find a new position. Questions can include experiences in the industry, education required, hardships that come with the industry, and if they have any advice for someone looking to advance in that space. In addition, remember that your contact is a person too, and a follow up note thanking them for their time and maybe highlighting what you learned from them is a nice note to end on.
If you are looking for contacts to learn from, or simply prefer to avoid one-on-one networking sessions, you can participate in events geared at networking. Taking a look at local event calendars and seminars is a great start to finding someone to connect with in an industry that interests you- or to simply become more active in your community.
Whatever sector you are interested in, Hamilton Hive is always happy to give young and established professionals access to resources that can help them excel in their careers.
Kathleen is an experienced customer service representative and public relations professional with a demonstrated history of working in the the travel & tourism industry.