There has been a lot written online and elsewhere about the importance of networking in creating a successful job search campaign that lays the groundwork for finding a great job. This blog has touched on the issue in the past with several posts.
When attending a job search networking opportunity or just speaking individually with people who may be able to help you, the usual approach is to pass out your résumé and related materials to give people an idea of your background and accomplishments. However, these materials are not necessarily crafted to provide optimal information for the purpose of networking.
A more targeted approach to communicating with networking partners is to provide a personal marketing plan. Like a résumé, this document provides information regarding current or previous employment and skills, abilities, and accomplishments. But, unlike a resume, a personal marketing plan can help others understand a lot more about your offerings and priorities that can help them promote you with their contacts.
Here are five ways a personal marketing plan can outshine a résumé when networking.
Flexibility in providing a much broader range of information.
The focus of a résumé is on persuading prospective employers to interview you for available positions. This requires you to direct the narrative much more on qualifications that match specific positions. However, this is not necessarily conducive to successful networking opportunities which often require a much broader representation of your background and interests.
Better visual representation of your background, skills, accomplishments, and career goals.
A personal marketing plan can truly provide a concise, easy-to-read narrative that someone can review and understand very quickly. There is no need to worry about applicant tracking systems or commonly accepted formats, so the document can better accommodate text boxes, tables, and graphics.
Improved understanding of your job search campaign priorities.
In order for others to help you in finding a great job, they not only need to know your background, skills, and accomplishments, but they also need to understand what sectors and particular employers you are targeting. This will enable them to prioritize how they promote you and who they target in that effort. A personal marketing plan is better suited in providing this information in a succinct manner.
Enable others to understand and appreciate your personal brand.
There is not really ample opportunity in a résumé for you to expand on your vision of how you can best contribute and what you want to accomplish in your career. As stated earlier, a resume and even a cover letter are driven by the need to secure employment interviews. This is also certainly true of a personal marketing plan. However, there is a much better opportunity to present branding information in a more compelling and detailed fashion. You can even outline what types of work environments and conditions you are best suited for which you would definitely not do in a résumé.
Force you to think about your personal brand and what you are specifically looking for in a job and career.
It is possible to have an outstanding résumé and related materials but, at the same time, be unable to articulate what you are best at and what you want to do in your career. A personal marketing plan requires considerable thought on these and similar issues. It serves as an outstanding way to truly narrow down where your passions lie. Committing to the process of developing an effective personal marketing plan is certainly time well spent.
When you develop your personal marketing plan, do not keep it to yourself. Share it with people you trust and request input. The plan is also not static, but is part of a dynamic process that needs to reflect they ways you are changing and progressing in your thinking about your career. Here is an example of a personal marketing plan. However, it is critical that you create a plan that fits you (one plan example does not fit all).
We would love to hear from people who have developed a personal marketing plan and their thoughts on its value to their job search.