Recently, as part of Zayo’s Coffee Club program, I met with a marketing professional named Karen Sutherland. While meeting we discussed her marketing background and traded stories. She then handed me a document I’ve been fawning over every since.
Below is Karen’s “Strategic Plan”, the quintessential “anti-resume” and it’s a project every marketer should take on immediately. In it she summarizes all her experience, differentiators and objectives in an easy-to-consume and compelling format. I’m blown away and can’t wait to make my own.
I’m sure this is meant to be a way to help plan your career with a more targeted and strategic approach. In my opinion this is also the perfect way to introduce yourself on paper. Resumes are detailed, bulleted and sometimes overwhelming. You’re including dates and awards and metrics and publications and on and on. This document drills down to everything a hiring manager or recruiter actually wants to know.
- What do you want to do?
- What do you know how to do?
- Where do you want to do it?
Once the conversation has started your resume can fill in any timeline or metric gaps.
How to format your personal strategic plan:
- Name, contact info, URL at the top – just like a resume.
Don’t slouch on this section. It doesn’t need to be professionally designed, but this is literally your first impression. Make it count. Maybe include a headshot or a special logo. Maybe just play with the formatting or layout. Use this to disclose your talent or personal brand without saying it outright.
- Professional Objective
I like what Karen did here. Get to the point and tell the reader exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t write a complete sentence, but make it skim-worthy.
- Positioning Statement
Now you can write in complete sentences. Write a paragraph on what makes you different, skilled or the best choice – just like if you were describing a product. Maybe play with the title by doing something fun like “The Pitch” or “In a Nutshell” – if you’re feeling adventurous.
I love that Karen broke this into three sections – skills she has, marketing specializations, and who she is.
I really like that she’s broken this down so well. If you were marketing a product, you would clearly state what your target market looks like. Why not do that for yourself?
Answer the following questions:
- Where do you want to work geographically?
- What type of industries do you prefer?
- What size company do you prefer?
- What is your ideal culture?
You may worry that this limits your ability to find work, but we all know the key to proper marketing is segmentation and targeting. Don’t be afraid to be niche.
Now, do your research. Which companies fit these parameters? Which companies complement these parameters? Now, go hunting.
In summary, stop what you’re doing and make your own strategic plan. It may be a little tough at first, but zeroing in on your target market and treating yourself like the amazing product you are is the best free thing you can do to market yourself right now.