Every season, you will find a new holiday-relevant type of chocolate bar available for sale. In February, the bite-sized chocolate pieces are molded into the shape of a heart and covered in red and pink foil. By March, the chocolate pieces are in the shape of shamrocks and wear green foil. For Easter, those chocolate pieces are dressed up in pastel foil and shaped like tiny Easter eggs. This pattern continues through Halloween until the end of the year when you find little Christmas tree-shaped chocolates sold alongside chocolate coins for Hanukkah.
The chocolate molding, imprinted patterns and color of wrapping foil change each season – but the chocolate doesn’t. It follows the same recipe and manufacturing process but is dressed up to appeal to different audiences at various times of the year.
The way you market yourself can be the same. The work experience and background and skills you have at this very moment can be similarly accented in different ways depending on your need. No matter which keywords and phrases you highlight on your resume, you still are the same person with the same background.
A lot of us tend to downplay ourselves on our resumes or think that our work history is not very impressive. Perhaps the job title didn’t sound glamorous or the company isn’t well known to the average person. You may find yourself saying, “All I did was. …”
One way to try to market yourself better is to think how you would write this resume if it were for someone else. It may be hard for us to brag about our own accomplishments, but we could probably do a good job selling someone else, especially a friend we wanted to help.
Or maybe you fall into the trap of just listing what you did without really elaborating on the importance of it or how it could apply to future work. Yes, maybe when you were just getting started in the job market, you made change and took people’s orders. But weren’t you also the first point of contact for customers? And didn’t you represent the face of the company? When you list some of the duties of your job, explain why they mattered.
Another idea is to find relevant connections to duties from your past work that you can apply to your current job search. That job working with kids that you didn’t think could apply to your dream field? Maybe you led programming efforts that align with your current goal job. Perhaps you never realized that the terribly inefficient computer system you had to use as part of your job is actually a type of such-and-such tool and now you can add that aspect of experience to your resume. The off-site training sessions that your boss asked you to organize for the team? You have some experience with event planning.
If we move past those solid seasonal chocolate bars, we can think of other ways you can market yourself to potential employers. When chocolate has more milk or is imported or made in some other unique way, it becomes more special and expensive. If your rates for your services are a bit higher than industry standards, you’re like the luxurious chocolate with a higher milk content. Now suddenly you are a boutique commodity.
I remember when I was growing up, I used to wonder who was eating dark chocolate. That’s been marketed so well that now we all are. What used to be dessert is now practically a health food. It’s got antioxidants. You can also find the selling point to your unique combination of skills and experience.
When you market yourself like chocolate, you aren’t changing who you are, but you are making yourself more appealing to the current market.
Author: Melissa Kamenjarin
Melissa is a Success by Rx copywriter and Spanish/English translator, writer, editor and proofreader specializing in educational materials, health insurance, non-profits, and published fiction and non-fiction books, blogs and websites. Melissa is the Secretary and blog writer for ATISDA (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area). An American Translators Association (ATA) member, she is also the Copy Editor for the ATA Medical Division’s publication, Caduceus.