When you think about it, the education system placed before us negates a lot of important topics in life which could be very useful life lessons. We ignore topics such as financial management and focus on “the powerhouse of the cell.” Not to say that this is wasted knowledge because no knowledge can ever be wasted. However, I just think that some systems should be revised, and useful subjects added to the curriculum.
Business students have probably learnt about marketing techniques, but it’s rare for someone to sit you down and teach you the most important form of marketing: Marketing yourself. A friend of mine likes to say “Connections and networking will open doors for you that your C.V could never.” Marketing yourself is extremely important. It can very easily be the barrier between your success and failure.
Here are the few ways in which you can market yourself.
- Be social savvy
Making conversation can be extremely hard especially because you don’t know how receptive the other person will be. However, you just have to try. People aren’t as frightening as you may think. For introverts and shy people, this may seem like Greek, but I believe that it is a trait that can be learnt. You don’t necessarily have to be born with it. Not just at corporate events, but anywhere else for that matter. It’s important to get contacts and network with people in the industry, and by doing so, you might just open big opportunities for yourself. 5 Tips On How To Network In A New Environment
- Identify your niche
Just like when you’re marketing your goods and services, marketing yourself involves identifying your niche. When you are marketing yourself you need to know exactly what your niche in the industry is. That way, you will know who to market yourself to and how to approach the whole situation. This can be done by understanding your short and long term goals in terms of your career. It will help you to identify the people that can help you grow in terms of your rank and hierarchy.
The Forbes website recommends writing as a way of marketing yourself. The best thing about this is that it could be about anything at all. Writing will expose your thoughts and ideas to a wide range of people, and this most definitely makes you more marketable. You can write a post on Linked In, or submit to a newspaper or magazine. Blogging is another platform. Ensure that you put up pieces that show understanding of the matter at hand. When you put yourself out there, you become searchable, and this goes a long way in improving your personal brand and profile.
- Take advantage of social media
The best thing about our world today is that we now have an online platform to create our personal brand. You might want to take advantage of this to market yourself. By constantly curating content that is in line with your niche, you are able to expose yourself to big people in the industry. This is a great way of marketing yourself. I’ve heard of organizations that ask for the interviewee’s social media handles so that they can have an overview of their online presence. If you are trying to market yourself, use this factor to your advantage. Try to ensure that your social media has informative intellectual content.
- Stay up to date
To market yourself, it’s extremely important for you to stay up to date, and especially in your industry. You have to have information at your fingertips. This can be done by exposing yourself to books, online courses, magazines, movies and any other material that seems vital. It helps to build a conversation with the people around you. It makes you seem more interested and conversant with the realities of life. The information will also help you during interviews and will portray you as a knowledgeable and involved candidate. This obviously gives you an upper hand over your competitors.
6. Pay attention to how you dress
Your dressing is a representation of who you are. Whether you like it or not, what you wear can determine how people view you. Stained clothes and dirty shoes are not a good look. Make sure that you look clean, dress well and present yourself decently. This will help people to form a positive impression about you. At the end of the day, life is about choices. Know the context that is placed before you and dress appropriately for it. If it’s a formal occasion avoid jeans and other casual wear. Understanding that your dressing determines who you are will help you go a long way in developing your personal brand. Careers: How Power Dressing Can Help You Move Up – An Infographic
7. Try doing a ‘vanity’ search.
Have you ever google-searched your name? What results did you find? Understand that in essence, this is your online brand. You want to make it as attractive as possible. This vanity search will help you understand your current position and realize the changes that you might want to make in order to improve your personal profile. If you’re happy with the results, then you are a step closer to reaching your dream personal brand.
8. Consider the way you talk
Very tiny details about the way you talk go a long way in determining people’s perception of you. Here’s how you can ensure that the way you talk is making a good first impression:
- Avoid filler words
Almost everyone is a victim of using filler words such as “Um,” “Ah,” “You know,” “Actually,” and “Like.” But did you know that when you overuse these words you appear to lack competence and come off as less confident? That’s why you must try your best not to use these words. You can substitute them with verbal pauses.
- Speak faster
You shouldn’t speak too fast, but make sure that the pace of your speech is fast enough. According to an article by Lisa Marshall, speaking rate influences perceptions. In fact, a positive linear relationship has repeatedly been found between speech rate and perceived competence.
A study conducted by researchers from the University Of Michigan found that people who spoke moderately fast, at a rate of about 3.5 words per second, were much more successful at getting people to agree with them than either those who talked very fast or very slowly.
People who speak fast are perceived as more credible, intelligent, socially attractive, and persuasive. The converse was also found to be true. Slow talkers (about 100 words per minute or less) were thought to be unintelligent and lacking credibility.
In order to achieve a certain speed when speaking, you should cultivate a habit of practising your speech. Record yourself speaking and listen back to ensure that your speed is the correct pace.
- Use a lower pitch in speaking
Apparently, a high pitched voice suggests childishness and anxiety. In the study mentioned above, that was conducted at the University Of Michigan, it was found that males with higher-pitched voices had worse success than their deep-voiced colleagues. But they did not find any clear-cut evidence that pitch mattered for female interviewers.
A different study concluded that women with lower-pitched voices drives perceptions of dominance and trustworthiness in women. This is why you might want to consider using a lower-pitched voice when speaking. It has been linked with increased credibility and a whole bunch of other positive traits.
9. “Who do you think you are?”
This is a crucial question when you are branding yourself. If someone were to ask you this question you would probably take it negatively. However, I choose to see it from a positive point of view. Do you ever listen to your subconscious? What are you telling yourself about you?
I read this quote once and it changed my life: I can’t get mad at how other people treat me because they observe how I treat myself and they reciprocate how I treat them. If I want this to change, I know where I must begin: Myself. Everything is a reflection.
The way you perceive yourself comes off subtly to other people as they interact with you. If someone were to ask you this question, ensure that you can confidently answer them with positive self-affirmations.
10. Let other people tell your story
We all know how effective word of mouth advertising is. When creating a personal brand, this method is not an exception to the rule. Never shy away from interviews. Allow people to tell your story and in doing so you will be creating a personal brand. Put yourself out there, whether in podcasts, video interviews or even written interviews. Let your story spread through all the possible avenues and in doing so you will be able to create a positive brand.