While everyone may know who Julia Child is now, she was publicly unknown for most of her life. Her early career spanned a variety of jobs, from starting out as a writer in advertising to even working in government intelligence during World War II. It wasn’t until she was 50-years-old that she wrote her first cookbook. All of the skills of previous jobs contributed to her true passion for cooking. Those skills helped her learn how to market herself in a competitive world. She knew who she was and what she could offer the world, and by leveraging those skills, Child stood out and achieved incredible success.
It’s not easy to market yourself to others. It requires grit, confidence, and above all, an understanding of who you are at your core. When you know your self-worth, it’s easy to stand out. But even a fully self-assured networking pro will market themselves poorly without guidance.
In such a competitive world, you need to find ways to separate yourself from the crowd to reach your career aspirations and life goals.
That reluctance might come from shyness or simply not knowing where to start. The fact remains that marketing yourself is an essential life skill. Failure can lead to a stagnant career marked with unfulfilled potential.
Read on to learn how to market yourself, including some tips you may have overlooked.
How to Market Yourself Successfully
1. Know Your Unique Skillset
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.Coco Chanel
When it comes time to market yourself, you need to know what you bring to the table that no one else does. But above all that, you need to pinpoint what it is that you love to do. Defining this passion can make all the difference, but it can be a significant and overwhelming challenge for many.
On top of all that, you also want to look at ways your skillset can help you earn a living. Sometimes it pays to take a step back and look at what drives you to be better. As you seek to define your unique skillset, ask yourself the following questions.
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do other people say you’re good at?
- How could you make money from following your passion?
If answers still come up short, try exposing yourself to different things. Show curiosity with learning and stepping outside of your comfort zone. As you do so, you can point to your unique attributes and skills with confidence, knowing full well that you can make a difference with something that drives you. It’s also something you can show without hesitation when a company is hiring employees.
2. Find Others with Similar Passions
Surround yourself with those who only lift you higher.Oprah Winfrey
You are shaped by the influences surrounding you. That is especially true for the people you allow in your inner circle. As you learn how to sell yourself, you should find those who have similar interests and passions. If they feel drawn to values and principles that mirror your own, you’ll likely find you have much in common. From there, you can build each other up.
Take the time to learn from them. See what skills they have that you can develop for yourself. When you surround yourself with positive people, you end up taking on some of their traits as well. In such cases, you’ll end up growing your unique skillset. This can become incredibly valuable as you market yourself and show the world what you can do.
3. Find Those You Love to Help
Being of service to others is what brings true happiness.Marie Osmond
When you market yourself, you’re not just selling your skills. You’re describing how you can solve other people’s problems. In other words, you’re offering your help. Think of it as a search for your core audience; only this is an audience you connect with on a personal level. To find your audience, ask yourself one question:
Who do you love to help?
When you help a certain type of person, do you draw satisfaction from it? This is one of the key points in finding your audience and pinpointing your passion. If you love to help people, you’ll find it easier to put yourself out there and overcome obstacles. Nothing will stand in your way to provide them with a solution.
Your audience shouldn’t be a vague group. Get down into the details. Think of who they are, what interests them, what type of jobs they have, where they shop, and what their life goals are. The more details you can list, the more focused you can be. On top of that, the more likely you can provide a solution that works best for them.
For example, think of how Tesla looks at its audience. They figure out who wants to buy a hybrid car, why they want to do it, what they hope to get out of it, and more. By narrowing down their audience, they can better market their personal brand to them. Do the same with yourself. Narrow things down and market to those you want to help above everything else.
4. Use Social Media
In a way, marketing yourself has become easier in the age of social media. With tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, you have the potential to use accounts that reach people directly. If you’re just starting out, join groups that share similar interests and begin posting comments and responses to other people’s posts.
Become a part of the conversation. Think of this almost like networking in the digital age. You may not meet people in person, but you can still become part of a tight-knit community.
One platform that deserves a closer look is LinkedIn. LinkedIn exists to make professional connections, making it a valuable tool for marketing yourself.
To have a LinkedIn profile that is attractive, engaging, and successful:
- Keep it fully updated and completed.
- Fill out all your skills and interests to appear on related searches.
- Reach out to former colleagues for professional reviews.
- Ask former clients to provide testimonials.
- Point to these reviews in response to job interview questions.
Whatever social media platform you use, stay focused on what you’re good at. Don’t stray too far from the niche you’ve created for yourself. While it may be tempting to go chasing likes from others, it’s wasted energy if you’re getting likes from people who aren’t interested in your service or product. Stay centered on the audience you care about, and things will fall into place.
5. Search for Speaking Opportunities
You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.John Ford
Another way to get your name out there is to take advantage of public speaking engagements. Many trade shows and conferences have public speaking opportunities for those interested. Look for open slots and apply to be one of the featured speakers. This gives you the chance to speak to a large number of people and share your message and values.
Don’t limit yourself solely to conferences, though. There are many unique speaking opportunities you can try. Look for podcasts that cover your niche or take part in collaborations on social media.
Perhaps most important of all is that you find an outlet that’s comfortable for you. Do you worry about speaking in front of a large crowd? Do you spend too much time fretting over your appearance? An outlet like Clubhouse can help you deal with these fears by speaking to a smaller group without appearing in front of them.
When you do get the chance to speak, make sure you have your story set in stone. Talk about any unique skills and insights you provide. Show your audience what you can do that others can’t.
Ultimately, you need to put yourself out there, and one of the best ways to do it is by looking at speaking opportunities as a chance to serve. As you serve, more people will be interested in what you offer.
6. Seek Out a Mentor
A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.Bob Proctor
Another one of the most effective ways to market yourself and enhance your skillset is to seek out someone to be your mentor. To find the right person to help you, identify someone in the same space where you want to grow and thrive. This person should have valuable experience and know what it’s like to get started. They also have an intimate knowledge of overcoming common challenges and what skills will help you get to the top.
Finding a mentor means being willing to have a coach by your side through thick and thin. Prepare yourself to receive instruction, guidance, encouragement, and correction from time to time. Having an experienced mentor also gives you access to their list of contacts that they’ve gathered throughout the years. Your mentor can put you in touch with the right people to continue making progress.
On a much smaller scale, another way of marketing yourself is by becoming a mentor to others. Through mentorship, you can help other people achieve their goals and improve their abilities.
Being a mentor is an act of service where you advise people who want help in their lives. If you’re helping someone who is at the beginning of their career, you grow as a person as well. It’s an opportunity to give back while still promoting yourself. At the same time, it’s a highlight you can talk about during the hiring process.
7. Serve Others
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”Martin Luther King, Jr.
In addition to becoming a mentor, help others at every opportunity in the spirit of service. By showing servant leadership, you become actively engaged in assisting people to reach their goals. Do so without any expectations of receiving something in return. Going the extra mile without any promise of reward is an excellent way to get people to notice you.
When you become a servant leader, you build up a reputation for going above and beyond. Word quickly spreads, and people will seek you out more often. You’ll also grow your skills and develop a thirst for reaching out and uplifting others. Not only does that mean bettering yourself, but it also means making the world a better place.
8. Become an Expert
Experts were once amateurs who kept practicing.Amit Kalantri
If your goal is to stand out, you need to walk the walk. Anyone can spout general knowledge about a subject. If you can provide unique knowledge and insight that only a handful of people know, your value skyrockets.
Take the time during the day to study topics that interest you. Demonstrate your expertise, and more people will look for you. Showing something rare is a surefire way to market yourself successfully. People don’t want something they’ve heard before. If you can provide a unique perspective backed up by your expertise, that makes others more attracted to what you offer.
Know Who You Are
It’s impossible to accurately market yourself until you fully understand who you are at your core. If you haven’t completely internalized who you are, what you’re good at, or what you stand for, you’ll never successfully market yourself to your full potential. The following exercises will help add clarity to your picture of who you are and what you’re are capable of.
- Write down your core values and review them regularly.
- Ask your team members for a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Talk with your friends about how they have discovered their own identities.
- Seek feedback from others on what projects you do your best work on.
- Spend time alone in prayer or meditation.
- Create a vision board where you use pictures and statements to visualize your life in three to five years.
As Henry Ford said, “There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.” When you understand your full potential, marketing yourself becomes natural.
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