When having networking conversations, informational interviews, phone interviews and face-to-face interviews, you are given a chance to do some personal marketing. During your personal marketing communication, you have the opportunity to pitch your “One Big Thing.”
Your one big thing is your core marketing message. This is what defines you as a professional. This could be that you’re a leader, you save your company money, you make your company money, etc. But your core marketing message is what sets you apart and makes you relevant to your next position.
It’s common for job seekers to not know how to introduce their core message. Your goal is to sell outcomes and not a job description. This is done with 5 steps of communicating your marketing message. The first 3 steps are as follows.
1. Audio Business Card
Your audio business card, which you may have heard me refer to as your ABC, is your verbal form if your core marketing message. The purpose of this is to gain attention and gain interest of a recruiter, employer or whomever you’re having a networking conversation. Your ABC answers the question, “So what do you do?” Or in an interview, this will start things off when the interviewer begins with: “So tell me about yourself.”
By using your ABC, you are introducing yourself and giving your initial impression. It’s important to remember that this does not mean you are being asked to give the definition of a job time. The best way to do this is by stating:
Target company (e.g., small-midsized businesses or IT companies)
Problem or issue you would solve (e.g., difficulty with client retention)
Outcome you would provide (e.g., quickly gaining back lost clients, implementing new policies)
When you put these all together, you are explaining what your expertise is in, how you would solve an issue, and how a company benefits from hiring- not just stating the job title you're looking for or what you do for a living.
An example of an ABC for a Business Development Manager is, "You know how some small to midsize businesses are struggling in this economy because they've lost some of their bigger customers? Well, that's where I come in - my specialty is getting back lost clients, especially bigger ones, in order to turn a business around and get them back on track."
Create your ABC in your own words because this is something you’re going to want to perfect and use often. Once you’ve given it, the person you’re speaking with is likely going to ask you to tell them more. This is then your chance to tell a story and give an example of your work.
2. Questions & Listening
After you’ve used your ABC and rounded first base, there is no need to keep talking about yourself. That part is done and the next step is the most important- asking questions.
It’s now time to put your attention of them and learn about their situation. Get interested in who they are and what their business is about (in a non threatening way). In an interview specifically, provide them with your ABC, followed by a 10-15 second run down of your experience and education, then 3-4 of your greatest strengths, and then finally you follow up with questions. Great questions include- What would you like to learn about in more detail? Which of these would you like to talk about first?
In an interview or a networking conversation, you are not selling yourself! During this 2nd time it is time to turn the tables and find out about them. You can’t prove your relevance without first learning more about them.
3. Answering Questions
Now it’s time to keep the conversation going by answering questions. An interview or networking conversation is a 2-way exploratory conversation with your questions intermingled together. This is now your chance to deepen the connection and the relationship.
It is easy to do this step incorrectly, so be sure to stay on target. A lot of people tend to be asked a question in an interview and then not be able to stop talking. Remember- asking questions and listening is the most important step. So practice answering questions briefly and turning around and asking a question in the prospect.
By closely following steps 1-3, employers, recruiters or networkers will likely continue to ask for more information because they have become interested. In order to build that interest, talk about your experience through the results and continue to ask non threatening questions. Do not push or sell yourself, but provide brief information that will encourage them to ask for more.
Next week we will continue with steps 4 and 5 in part 2 of communicating your value to employers. For questions or for more information, contact me directly.
Career Resume Consulting