images-1As as job search coach and employability skills trainer for 15 years, I have often spoken with people not just looking for work, but looking for work that matters. In many cases, they have talent and drive but never seem to find a “lucky break” that can take them to a level of career success that is remarkable. More often than not, the missing ingredient for them to go from good to great is marketing, also known as personal branding.

Without the right “packaging”, the product YOU, may not have the perceived value of being remarkable. Quite often, the careful crafting of what you can offer is often the difference between getting hired or getting ignored and can ultimately determine the income you can earn. Think of the difference between someone passing out their resume in front of a Starbucks or including it in a portfolio handout as part of their presentation for an industry group meeting.  If you’re just posting your resume on job boards, your “perceived value” may be a lot like the guy in front of a Starbucks.

imgresPackaging is also as important as it relates to your professional appearance, how you look for a job, the company you keep, how you write your resume and the quality of your social presence on the Internet.

Consider this example of how “packaging” can make a difference.

It’s was a cold January morning in 2007 at the Washington, DC Metro Station where a man with a violin played 6 Bach pieces for 45 minutes.

During that time about 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. The musician opened his violin case so those passing could make donations.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing and slowed his pace and then stopped for a few seconds. He then kept walking. After 7 minutes the violinist had received a dollar from a woman who threw the money in his case and continued to walk. After 13 minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him play. He then looked at his watch and walked on. After 23 minutes a 3-year-old boy stopped to listen to the violinist before his mother nudged him to move on. The child continued to walk but kept turning his head back all the time to look at the musician. Several other children also stopped to listen to the music but without exception their parents forced them to move on.

During the 45 minutes the man played, only 6 people stopped for any length of time to listen to the music. Only one person recognized who the musician was and put a $20 bill in his case. After an hour, he finished playing. No one applauded.

Joshua  BellNo one knew that the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world worth $16 million and he played a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before, Joshua played to a sold out a theater audience in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each.

The talent was there but without marketing and being in the right venue, Joshua was perceived as just an average street vendor begging for some extra cash.

Think about your approach to finding or changing jobs.  Does your marketing and brand convey that you are a professional or just someone looking for work to pay the bills?  Consider these options to improve your employability marketing:

  1. If someone Googles your name, what will they find?  Do you have a personal website that highlights your expertise and reflects that you are an expert in your profession?
  2. Are you active and connected on social media with professional peers indicating that you are engaged in your profession and looking for something more than “just a job”?
  3. Do you use the tools of the Internet like Buffer, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as contact automation tools to be responsive to people interested in connecting with you?
  4. Is your expertise highlighted in a Blog where clients or employers can get an idea of your thinking and what you can offer that is valuable?

Now more than ever, you need the right venue and packaging to connect with the right people. Just having a resume that’s posted on job boards will rarely offer you the chance to be recognized as someone remarkable and marketable because of your talent.