As a business coach, I do a lot of work with people who are struggling to find customers. Competition is fierce, and people are reluctant to part with their money. But, to be honest, that’s always been true. We have a particular version of that going on now, but it’s always be hard to build a successful business.
Perhaps you have more modest ambitions: You just want to have a solid job which gives you reliable income in trade for your skills and hard work. It’s not like you’re out there trying to find customers.
Oh, but you are.
When you look at the lifetime view of your career, you’ll see that you’ve been selling something (your work) in trade for payment (your salary). Your customer is the company or organization which employs you, and, most specifically, your manager. You’re doing repeat sales of your services, because you have to justify your value to each boss you have, to each organization which hires you.
You’re in a 1-person services business.
The crucial success factors of this kind of business is to have people know about you, think positively, and recommend you to others. They have to remember what’s unique and valuable about you.
“But … I do great work! The work speaks for itself!”
I’d like you to be suspicious about this statement. Yes, people will often respect your great contribution more than some slick PR campaign. But they have to know about your work. They will know about this from three sources:
- They experience it directly
- You tell them about it
- Someone else tells them about it
The first is clearly most powerful, but perhaps is visible to a limited number of people. The second is the most direct message, but has the danger that people will view you as puffing up your image. The third has great impact when it’s built on a relationship of trust and respect between the people who are talking about you.
Your best “marketing campaign for your career” is when all of these are working together consistently. Here’s some examples:
- Your résumé or CV contains specific information which shows the reader that you have delivered tangible value through your job.
- You’re working with other managers outside your immediate workgroup so that they can directly see the kind of value you provide.
- Your boss is giving you credit for great work in front of other managers and influencers.
What are you doing to become more memorable?