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Jacqueline Drew: Marketing yourself to prospective employers

Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).

By Jacqueline Drew, founder of Start Marketing in Calgary
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A good friend of mine got fired from his job today. So today, I am inspired to talk about a different kind of marketing - marketing yourself - instead of the more typical marketing of a business' products or services.

Marketing yourself as a person to prospective employers, for some reason, seems far more stressful than marketing other things. But in fact, it's almost identical to marketing a business - if you do it right. Here's what I mean:

First, what is your long term vision and core values? Any prospective employer you choose must get you on a path to give you the skills you want. For example, if you want to own a chain of restaurants, working as an employee in a restaurant isn't a bad place to start.

Next, assess your products and services. Imagine the skills you will need to be the best at what you want to do. If you don't have them, get on a continual path to educating yourself to be competitive.

Then, decide on your price. Many businesses will lower their prices to get clients that get them into strategic areas where they truly want to be. You can do the same thing - set your price with the long-term in mind - and consider proposing a performance bonus or promotion path when you deliver good results.

Now it's time to pull your professional marketing tools together. Tailor a resume that fits and specifies your long-term vision. That way, employers will see you as a good investment, as opposed to another short-term employee there to make a quick buck and leave.

Finally, become a professional salesperson. No business exists without some selling to get customers - and if you are job hunting, that's exactly what you'll be doing. So read books on sales, hone your phone skills, and learn to write intro letters that knock the employers' socks off.

Remember that even if you're not seeking a career in sales or marketing, everyone needs those skills at some point in his or her life. So if you're seeking work, take the opportunity to learn about it now - and you'll find those skills will open up doors for you for the rest of your life.

-- For the Business Network, I'm Jacqueline Drew, in Calgary.

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