Beyond the Assembly Line: self-promotion

The second method for getting beyond the assembly line approach is related to the first, and it is self-promotion. Self-promotion is a technique for making yourself easily available to others—marketing yourself as the expert in a specific niche so that everyone knows about you. Become the go-to person in your field, because the fact is if you do this kind of thing, getting hired is a lot easier. It gives you a competitive advantage over others, leading to more choices for you to consider than for someone who just answers want ads.

It’s the continuous campaign—people knowing about you all the time. Politicians don’t run once, they’re trying to get themselves re-elected all the time. That’s their job. The result of your persistence is that you and your career become more successful. Better opportunities land on your doorstep.

Writing articles, getting published, and speaking to industry groups or small trade groups all go a long way towards unlocking more opportunities for you.

My friend, the analytical one, Bob, took clear steps towards self-promotion by getting published regularly. He put himself on a schedule where every 6 months his articles were published in periodicals that related to his sector. As a result of that, he wound up in the databases of some of the executive search firms. At the same time, he began to break into the public speaking circuit, speaking at industry conferences about math and finance.

Within a relatively short period of time—to me 10 years is a relatively short period of time—his income soared from $85,000 to three-quarters of a million dollars, plus bonus. He’d developed a name for himself (people in his industry came to know him). Positions came to him. Companies were all too happy to have a perceived expert joining them. He turned the tables.

An increasingly popular and acceptable way to develop an image of expertise on a subject is to blog. Several websites offer free blog space, and blog entries are hot items on internet search engines. Search engines always scour the net for the most recent entries. You can republish the articles you write in a magazine or industry journal or on your blog, too.

Scheduling speaking engagements before trade associations and networking groups is also a fantastic way to build credibility and expertise. As soon as people see someone up there behind a podium—they don’t have to be a professional speaker, they don’t have to be immaculately polished, but if they know their stuff—people are impressed.

People perceive an image, an aura of knowledge around you when you’re behind a lectern. The minute you call yourself an author and present your knowledge to a crowd, it catapults you ahead of others, which, when looking for a job, is exactly where you want to be. If you’re perceived as being ordinary, you’ll have ordinary opportunities and ordinary wages. If you’re perceived as being an expert, you get a better class of opportunity and higher compensation.

There are also online forums and groups. Facebook and LinkedIn have discussion groups. Some of these groups offer job leads as well. They may not necessarily be for public speaking engagements, but they are opportunities to discuss matters online with others who share your interests.

The bottom line is that this should be seen as a fun process. It doesn’t have to be seen as work. Your creativity and sense of innovation are engaged, as you find different ways to position yourself as the expert and put yourself in front of managers, sidestepping the traditional path of just sending the resume. If you have an opportunity to talk about something that you love doing with other people who love doing it, it’s terrific.

This is guerilla marketing, meaning you’re venturing off the standard, trodden path that others take and forging your own directions. You find ways to reach and touch people in a specific market. Because you’re not a huge company, because you’re an individual, you can do things in a different manner that still affect and encourage people to connect with you using new technology AND old techniques.

This is actually what search professionals do for a living– They put themselves in a position where they’re able to connect with hiring professionals, organizations, and individuals as being the “go-to” person when finding talent. Basically what I’m asking you to do is to think of yourself as a professional search firm with one client.

As a search professional, your job is to market yourself and to place yourself in an advantaged position with the audience. You’re working to make sure that the organizations that need to hire someone don’t have to read through resume after resume; instead, maybe they’ll pick up the phone or send you an email and say, “Hey, we have a position open for such and such. We want to talk to you about it.” It’s an ideal situation and one that’s doable.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020 



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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