Self Promotion

The Anti-Resume Every Marketer Should Make Immediately

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.

Strategic Plan

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Competencies

I love that Karen broke this into three sections – skills she has, marketing specializations, and who she is.

  1. Target

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.

How To Write A Personal Marketing Plan

Image result for writingAs marketers, I find we’re always aware that we should be doing more to promote ourselves.  But with the demands of marketing products and companies – often with very few resources and little support – it can be exhausting to go home and create a marketing plan for our own brand development.

I totally get it.

It’s like the old saying, “Never check a book keepers books”, meaning accountants never have time to do their own accounting.  Marketers never have time to do their own marketing.  But here’s the thing… wouldn’t it be easier to market ourselves if we tackled it the same way we tackled a marketing plan?

Hear me out.  I’m serious.

What if we stepped back and created an actual marketing plan for us?  SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, go-to-market strategy – the whole shabang?!  What if we, as marketers – the experts in strategy development – Image result for beautiful mind gifremoved emotion and passion from the equation and treated our careers like another product we are meant to master and make successful.

I actually think that would be more fun than sitting on the bus every day remembering that you really should be sending out (spamming) your resume and going to networking events.

So let’s break it down.  How, as marketers, can we assign the same product marketing plan
principles to promoting ourselves?  Like any good marketing plan, we start with an outline.

Your Personal Marketing Plan:

  1. Situation Analysis
    • It’s time to get real about your situation.  Do you have a degree?  Masters?  Are you at the beginning of your career (1-6 years), middle (7-15 years) or towards the end (15+ years) – what does that mean?  Have you recently been laid off?  Same company for 10 years?  Be honest and completely objective.  You are simply collecting data.  There’s a reason the marketing mix is at the end of the plan – you don’t know what you’re going to do with the data yet.
  2. SWOT Analysis
    • Strengths – Be honest (none of that fake modesty BS).  What do you actually excel at?  In my case, I’m really good at presenting and creating compelling stories.  Try naming 6-10 skills/attributes where you totally kill it.
    • Weaknesses – This is often the easiest thing you can do.  We’re fairly good at tearing ourselves apart.  In this case, keep it constructive and objective – no emotion.  What are your weaknesses?  In my case, I am not great at following financial conversations quickly.  Many of my colleagues can do complicated calculations in their head and I find myself struggling to catch up.  As a marketing professional it’s up to me to use this information to improve my product (myself) and play to my strengths.
    • Opportunities – This one can be exciting and daunting at the same time.  Opportunities could include new roles, going back to school, or any number of other surprises life sends our way.  So write them down.
    • Threats – This can take many forms.  Layoffs, new hires, new technology standards or KPIs… the list can be endless.  Think about the things that could most threaten your professional life and plan accordingly.  Pretending threats don’t exist is just as stupid as dwelling on them.
  3. Competition Analysis
    • This one’s tough.  I’ll admit I struggle with this one myself from time to time.  The obvious competition are your co-workers and colleagues, but what about externally?  It might help to do some research.  How many people are studying marketing these days?  How many people are going back for their MBAs in marketing?  How big is the talent pool in your city?  Think like a recruiter when tackling this section.  Ultimately, that’s what you’re up against.
  4. Professional Objectives
    • Now comes the part where you physically write down (or type if you’re like me and are glued to your laptop) what you want to be when you grow up.  You’ve researched the market, you’ve thought seriously about what you excel at and struggle with.  You’ve even evaluated your current situation.  Where do you want to go with all this data?  For me, I want to be a leader among next-generation B2B marketers.  It’s crazy.  I get it.  But it’s something I can constantly reference when I’m thinking about my next step.  Will this help me become a leader in my field?  If the answers yes, go do that.  If no, don’t waste my time with it.One thing to keep in mind when setting goals is to keep them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-based.  A better way to state my goal would be “I want to be a keynote conference speaker on the subject of B2B marketing within 10 years.”  It hits all the marks and is in line with my original goal of being a leader in my field.  You’re turn.
  5. Financial Objectives
    • This one’s the easiest, so I won’t spend too much time on it.  How much money do you want to make or save?  Write it down.  Done.  (Once again, think SMART)
  6. Marketing Mix
    • Okay, here comes the fun part.  How are you going to get there?  You’ve done the research and you’ve stated your objectives.  Let’s dance.  Here are a few options, but we’re marketers – get creative.
      • Social Media
      • Conferences
      • Networking Events
      • Write a book
      • Design a portfolio
      • Write a funny resume
      • Make personal business cards that express your personality
      • Teach a class
      • Volunteer your marketing skills for a cause you care about
      • Buy a billboard for a month promoting yourself – seriously, have you ever seen anyone else do that?  I didn’t think so.
      • Give a lunch and learn to your company employees so they know what you do all day
  7. Budget
    • Any B2B marketer worth their weight will tell you “You don’t have to spend a fortune on marketing, but a small investment goes a long way” – so invest in yourself.  You don’t have to buy a billboard (although that would be awesome and I really hope someone does and sends me a picture) but you could spend the money to go to a marketing conference.  Or budget time, which is often just as precious as money, each month to volunteer or teach or write or whatever.  Some investment goes a long way.
Image result for personal billboard

Okay, apparently someone did do it… and it’s awesome!