Friday, June 18, 2010

4 "P's" of Marketing Yourself, Part 2 -- PRESENTATION

Here is Part 2 of my series, 4 "P's" of Marketing Yourself. If you missed part 1, read the first installment, "PITCH".

Some of you may find this material remedial while others will be enlightened by it. If you are in a career transition it is essential that you learn how to PITCH and PRESENT yourself in the best possible light.


“What is the dress code?” If I had a dollar for every time I am asked that question by prospective candidates in advance of their first interview with a client company I would be well, a guy with heck of a lot of dollars! Truth be told, I am flummoxed by that query. No, actually I am really annoyed but it.So, for once and for all let me set the record straight. This is the final, final answer to that question.

The answer is: You should dress in a manner that is the very best professional representation of who you are and how you will represent the company. Period.

No blue jeans. No Birkenstocks. No all black ensembles that make you look like Dieter from the Sprockets skit on S.N.L. Casual dress is for weekends and walking your dog. It isn’t for an interview. A clean, crisp conservative style always shows well. Think Brooks Brothers not True Religion. There. You now can cross off that “dress code” question from your list.

Why am I so wrapped around the axle on this issue? Because clients who retain me to find superior talent for them have an expectation of what superior talent looks like, regardless of the position being interviewed for. You will be evaluated by how you present yourself and first impressions are a huge determinate of lasting perceptions. Oh, and in case you forgot. The interview isn’t really about YOU. It is about the COMPANY and their analysis of your fit and function. They will hire you based on your experience, track record and the value they expect you will deliver. Many a qualified candidate are not asked back to the next round of interviews because of one the key stakeholders on the interview team “didn’t like the way he or she PRESENTED themselves.” Yes. Happens all the time. Leave nothing to chance in the interview process. This includes what you wear.

Got it? Great!

Now, go buy some slacks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4 "P's" of Marketing Yourself, Part 1

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the second year MBA class at San Jose State University. These 50 students are facing a very challenging (but improving) hiring climate. What was refreshing to experience was how hungry they were for guidance and support. It is obvious that most business schools, like undergraduate programs offer little support to students beyond the dreadful career placement center. Below is Part 1 of material I covered with the students.

You have all heard of the “4 P's of Marketing”. Well, I have created “Mike’s 4 P's of Marketing Yourself!”: Pitch, Plan, Package and Presentation. Here is part 1....THE PITCH.

You are at a conference or a networking event and the person next to you in the drink line turns and asks, “So, what do you do”? As soon as intonation of the person’s sentence rose signaling the inbound question, you began to sweat. At first not noticeably but quickly you felt as though someone just poured a glass of water over your head. Your left eye started to twitch and just as you frame the words in your brain to respond, you stammered out a reply that made the person’s eyes glaze over and then order a double adult beverage.

Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry. You are in good company. It happens to darn near everyone when they are “in career transition”. If this is still happening to you, take heart. It won’t for long. What you need to develop is what is commonly called “your personal elevator pitch”. This is a concise, clear and powerful statement about who you are, why a company should hire you and what you can do for them.

It should be no more than 45 seconds, 30 if possible. The desired outcome of the pitch is to encourage the fortunate recipient to ask for your card and schedule a time for a longer discussion. Short of that, it is to cement an impression that you are laser focused, know who you are, what you want to do and are supremely confident in your abilities. The goal is to get that person engage further, question deeper about what makes you tick.

Crafting and honing a 30 second pitch literally takes hours of work before you become a master at the delivery. You should practice it in front of a mirror. Bribe a trusted friend to listen to your pitch. Rehearse it until you are dreaming about practicing! Then, practice some more.

Ready to give it a try? Then develop your pitch, email me when you are ready and we will set up a time and you can pitch me! I would be happy to listen to it. Just don’t make my eyes glaze over.

Mike Vanneman