Marketing your career is what Michelle Robin, founder of Brand Your Career is all about. She is a marketing professional with more than 19 years experience in product management, direct marketing, and graphic design.
At Brand Your Career, Michelle calls upon her professional marketing skills to translate business-to-business marketing to people-to-business career branding.
Michelle holds certifications as a National Certified Resume Writer, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and she is a Member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.
MICHELLE ROBIN’S CAREER JOURNEY
Michelle spent the first half of her career in marketing and product management. Careers, however, has always been something she has had a fascination with.
As a marketer, she has always enjoyed the challenge of aligning her resume with a job description even if she wasn’t looking for a job herself. She shared this passion with her friends and co-workers by helping them tailor their resumes as well.
After 19 years in marketing, Michelle decided it was time to work more from home so she took her product marketing skills and decided to apply them to career marketing.
This may seem like a random pairing but Michelle knew she could leverage her past experiences in marketing and graphic design into career marketing. In her words, she simply went from marketing products to marketing people.
In her mind, the job candidate, employer relationship is the same or very similar to the product, buyer relationship.
MARKETING YOUR CAREER – YOUR JOB SEARCH IS LIKE A MARKETING PLAN
Michelle wrote an article for Target Marketing Mag titled, Your Job Search is like a Marketing Plan. In the article, she compares 6 standard marketing tactics to tactics you can apply to any job search.
At a high level, the comparison comes down to having a plan. A company wouldn’t embark on a marketing campaign without a plan and you shouldn’t start a job search without one either.
This echoes the advice from so many guests on the podcast including Olivia Gamber.
To help you get started Michelle walks us through the 6 marketing tactics you can use when marketing your career in your next job search.
Step 1 – The Target = Your Ideal Company and Position
One of the first steps in marketing your career is to identify your ideal company and position. Michelle calls this creating a company persona.
Similar to a customer persona, the company persona requires you to do research to determine which company or companies may be a good fit for you.
Michelle recommends including the following items in your company persona.
- Size of the Company – Number of employees, annual revenue
- Type of Company – Agency or Corporation
- Location – Main location and satellite branches
- The Company Culture – Glassdoor.com
Create a customer using one sheet of paper for each company you plan to apply.
Step 2 – The List = Your Network
In online marketing you always hear about the list, “the money is in the list”, Michelle tells us the same is true when marketing your career. Of course, the list she is referring to is your network.
Michelle recommends classifying your network in the following four parts. In marketing, this would be referred to a segmenting your list.
- Champions – People you know directly
- Prospects – People Champions could introduce you to. Prospects might know something about your industry or people at your target market.
- Sponsors – People who will vouch for you, pass your resume along or perhaps hire you directly.
- Activators – People you are actually interviewing with. They have a job you could get.
Using your list when marketing your career
To get started managing your list, Michelle recommends sends an email to the champions on your list and ask them for advice, insights, and recommendations. You are not asking them for a job.
You are looking for them to point you in the right direction. Before you say your “list” isn’t big enough, Michelle suggests you list is bigger than you think. To bear this out she suggests looking at those around you.
- Your accountant
- Your dentist
- Your hairdresser
- Parents of your children’s friends
- Your neighbors
- LinkedIn connections
David Fisher would agree with Michelle. Your network is larger than you think.
Step 3 – The Unique Value Proposition = Personal Brand
Michelle tells us our personal brand is what makes us unique. Applying this to the concept of marketing your career, this means that each of us has a unique value or sales proposition.
You may have heard these terms referred to as UVP or USP in marketing terminology.
The key to determining your USP or UVP is to answer the question what makes you different. You may an accountant but so are thousands of other people. How are you different. The answer is your unique value proposition.
If you need help determining your USP grab your copy of my personal brand statement worksheet.
Michelle recommends reaching out to others in your circle, those on your list for example, who know you well and ask them to give you three adjectives they would use to describe you. At the same time, you write down three on your own.
You can find a template I recommend you use when reaching out to your trusted advisors HERE.
Why Personal Branding matters when marketing your career
Chances are you’ve heard the term personal branding ad nauseam. You may have even said yourself that, “Personal branding is just a bunch of B.S.”.
Of course, you know where I stand on this topic so I asked Michelle Robin what she tells people when they take this type of stance.
She starts with a simple question, what is your reputation in your particular field? She asks this question because she knows your personal brand is your reputation. It’s what you’re known for.
To determine your personal brand, Michelle recommends taking the StrengthsFinders assessment and the Fascination Advantage assessment.
If you decide to take either of these assessments you can capture your results in this worksheet.
Step 4 – The Offer (call to action) = Ask for the Interview
In marketing, a call to action to simply an instruction to your audience to invoke the desired response. When marketing your career, the call to action for the job seeker is asking for the interview.
Michelle recommends putting your call to action in the cover letter. Yes, she recommends sending cover letters despite what you may have heard about their early demise.
While it may be true only half of the cover letters you send out will get read, Michelle argues why would you want to miss out on that half? It’s a tough point to argue.
Another great place Michelle Robin suggests you put a call to action is on your LinkedIn profile. She gives the following three locations for a call to action in your profile.
- The Summary section
- The About section
- The Contact section
Use the LinkedIn summary section when marketing your career
Michelle gave a great tip on how to use the summary section of your LinkedIn profile. You may or may not know, but LinkedIn offers a paid search tool for recruiters.
When a recruiter does a search, just like Google, a results page is returned. Recruiters will see your headline (don’t use your job title) and the first one hundred characters of your summary section.
Michelle recommends putting your call to action right at the top, in the first one hundred characters. This allows recruiters to contact you without ever opening your profile.
Additionally, she recommends adding a line at the end of your summary section, that simply asks the question, how can I help you.
But don’t just ask the question. Ask it in a way that also reiterates the value you offer. It might look like this.
“If you are seeking a (insert title) who has lead global teams, with the proven ability to save (insert amount) dollars, please contact me at…”
Step 5 – The Channel = The Delivery Method
Michelle and I discuss how the internet and social media has changed the job search forever. She reminds us 98% of recruiters are on LinkedIn yet only 50-60% of job seekers are on the platform.
Social media has made it so much easier to get in direct touch with hiring managers. Not only can you find their name via a quick LinkedIn search but if they have a Twitter account you may be able to chat with them directly.
Michelle makes what might be a controversial statement, saying the resume now really takes a back seat or at least second place now when you’re marketing your career.
What takes first place now? A Google search.
This is why you need to make sure your online presence reflects what you want to be known for. This requires you to be active online.
Step 6 – Lead Management = The Follow-Up
When marketing your career it’s critical to follow up and “nurture” your list. If someone on your list says they will introduce you to someone else in a particular industry or role you need to follow up with them.
The easiest way to do this in these cases is to send what Michelle refers to as an “intro blurb”.
An intro blurb is essentially a “done for you” email template where you draft the email you want the person to send. So the intro blurb would start off something like this.
“I know you said you would introduce me to “so and so”. To help make the introduction easier for you, I’ve included some text below explaining my relevant experiences and value proposition. Just copy and paste the text into the introduction email. Thank you.”
This may seem a little “aggressive” but the reality is the easier you make it for the person the greater the chance it will happen.
Managing the Job search process when marketing your career
There’s no doubt, the job search is much more complex today. So complex, in fact, it can be difficult to keep it all straight.
To combat this, Michelle recommends using a tool like JibberJobber to keep track of your applications, interviews, and connections.
JIbberJobber is an online CRM specifically designed to help you organize and manage your career. It’s free up to 500 contacts and 500 companies.
THE BEST WAYS TO CONTACT MICHELLE ROBIN
LinkedIn: Michelle Robin
MARKETING YOUR CAREER SUMMARY
If you want to become known in your industry, marketing your career is not optional, it’s a necessity and so is having a plan for your job search.
Marketers, good marketers that is, know the key to any successful marketing campaign is having and executing a detailed plan. The success of your job search is no different.
Always remember, you do in fact, sell your services, your skills, your knowledge to your employer. You’re not just an employee. You’re a brand and as such you need to be marketing your career