By Nicholas Bergan
Faculty Member, Marketing at American Public University
Marketing yourself means being able to discuss your exemplary qualities as well as what differentiates you from others. Whether you are interviewing for a job, seeking a promotion, or trying to land the next client, you need to be able to advocate for yourself. A key component of marketing yourself is focusing on specialization.
Specialization is what you do best. Companies have to focus on what they do best in order set themselves apart and earn a profit. How do you apply this technique to you as an individual? What makes you special and how do you market yourself?
Specialization Starts with Education
Specialization starts when you select your educational path. Consider the role of a doctor. A doctor who pursues an internal medicine or family practice will probably not be as profitable as a doctor who gains additional training in a specialized health care field like dermatology or plastic surgery. When selecting your degree, if you are more specialized you have a greater opportunity to differentiate yourself. For example, when I was deciding on my educational future, I tried to map out my goals. I could have pursued a master of business administration after getting my undergraduate degree; instead I chose to get a master of economics.
Obtaining a degree in a specific area sets you apart as a subject matter expert. More importantly, obtaining a specialty in a particular industry affords you the opportunity to teach that specialty at the college level. Often those who have a master’s in their job field in a specific subject also receive higher pay.
Tips for Marketing Yourself
To market yourself, you must know what the end goal is in your career or education. The most successful people are those who set goals, achieve them, and then set of the next goals. Think about your career path and determine who you want to reach. Research companies and learn the demographics of the people in your target audience. Learn the appropriate tone, keywords, and language of your market.
Armed with this knowledge, you are ready to market yourself. Social media plays an important role. Your social media sites and links should always reflect your professional skills and specialization. Provide information that will help people and companies to understand who you are, such as past employment, group memberships, professional connections, and extracurricular activities.
You should also create a blog site to serve as a professional portfolio with a resume, work samples, presentations, and other relevant materials. Consider this to be an extension of your printed resume; pay careful attention to presentation and spelling and other factors that indicate your professionalism. A well gathered and impressive portfolio allows you to show your strengths. Make sure your material aligns with your professional goals.
Invite colleagues, teachers, and friends to review your marketing material. Many people will gladly lend their expertise; often your school has leaders in the particular industry. Input from others can help you to refine and polish your marketing.
What Makes You Special?
Your specialty is reinforced by your education and experience, but you can do more to define yourself as a quality resource. Be active in professional communities; look for relevant internships, volunteer work, and other organizational opportunities.
About the Author:
Nicholas Bergan has a Master’s in Economics from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Science from St. Louis University. Nicholas has worked in the field of Economics since his attendance at St. Louis University where he worked for the Federal Reserve Bank as a Data Analyst. While Nicholas was attending school at Florida State University he worked for the Florida Department of Education as a Management Consultant.