Marketing one's value is a strategic part of a job search, promotional pursuit, and any professional venture. Right now, as a new graduate, I am doing something called “Finding My Value” to better navigate through the work force and my professional ventures. This is something that you can do at any age and anytime. To find your value, focus on four areas:
1) What skills of mine can I market?
2) What do others say about my value?
3) Do I fall under creative professional, employee, entrepreneur or investor, etc.?
4) To whom do I market myself to?
My dad once taught me, “People will pay for what you know.” You cannot find what you want to do until you find what you already can do. You cannot go to Point B with going to Point A. That said, many people apply to jobs without considering their value as well as how to articulate that value. Even with resumes, it is more important to reveal the strengths and tasks completed for each experience rather than simply put all the weight into your professional titles.
You have to have something unique to give. Instead of tailoring your resumes to what jobs want you to be, you must find jobs that want what you have to give. This will help you to assess your value and find companies that will appreciate it.
Finding out numbers 1 and 2 will help to determine number 3. If you are a current employee but have more to give, why shouldn't you? The Internet makes marketing oneself easy. If you are more than one type of professional, it will help you to not only weigh how much you have to give in each type but to find what people value the most from you in each.
That said, we all have references and recommendation letters. These go straight to an employer. More than likely, it is also tailored to what the employer is looking for. This actually does not fully help you find or articulate your value. It merely helps you to appeal to what an employer wants your value to be. In many cases that is necessary especially if you are struggling financially and need a job to simply survive. Get a job simply to survive and you are more likely to get a job while you have a job than while you are labeled a job seeker. Now, back to how your friends, family, coworkers, previous employers, etc. have to add to the articulation of your value. In survey or questionnaire form, ask them to tell you directly and in their preferred language what they perceive your value to be. Without linking this task to a potential employer or position, they can tell you freely what they value about you. You can use this to determine what others value the most about what you do and how to tailor how you sell your value.
The next step is to sell what you know. When you find your value, you can create a better resume, better interview and better networking “speech.” A networking speech would be to sum up these four areas in just a few minutes before handing someone your business card. You do so right after you greet, shake hands and repeat their name to them while making eye contact.
This leads us to number 4. You sell your value to employers, employees, potential partners, customers, clients and any type of business transaction involving you and another party. Therefore, when you find out what others already value, you have a greater perspective on determining and narrowing what your overall value is that you have to give. When you know what your value is, then you know who will appreciate it. You can therefore determine the audience of your appeal.
Evaluating and re-evaluating your value is a process that can and should occur at any stage of being a working professional.
When you do so, your professional items such as resume, website or business card reflect this appeal. It can redefine your dynamic and help you rethink your game plan.