Think of any product in the supermarket – say, a can of tomato soup. If this can of soup is not very appealing to its target audience in terms of ingredients, label design, price and value, it’s likely that it won’t be picked up, or very few shoppers will buy it. It won’t be long until the company phases out this soup, and any remaining cans will be shoved into the sale rack. You’re like this can of soup. You have your talents, strengths and weaknesses, and in making it in whatever industry you’re in, it’s important to know how to “sell” or “market” yourself:
Figure out what your strong and weak points are.
This way, you’ll know what your expertise is, or what “best” products /services to offer your clients. Let’s say you know how to use most Adobe software. You’re only somewhat knowledgeable in Dreamweaver and HTML, but happen to be a pro in Illustrator and Photoshop. If this is the case, there’s no point in marketing yourself as a web designer - market yourself as a graphic designer instead! Highlight your strengths, be confident, but don’t be arrogant and/or overly confident, or pretend to know what you don’t know, or know too well.
Identify your objectives to clients.
By doing this, you’ll be serving your clients what they need, want, or what they’re looking for. Begin with your specialized skills, your interests, characteristics, and then your personal standards. You could present yourself as someone that’s skilled at many things, or a specialist. You could also present yourself as both, but be truthful.
Know your target market.
Think of a product that’s highly marketable to people in the upper middle class income bracket, like a brand of hair conditioner. If the company that makes this product doesn’t know how to sell this product to the upper middle class, they’re likely to get things wrong, like the design for the label, and which store to sell the product in, etc. This is why it’s important to know who you’re selling your image and skills to.
Identify your value to employers/clients.
This is basically answering this questions, “What will be my value to the company?” and “How will I be able to help the company improve?” Remember to highlight your good points and skills.
In the dog-eat-dog workforce world, presentation matters a lot – this could be your edge over others. You need to make your image or brand palatable to your market. You need to practice what you preach and look the part, based on the image that you’re selling to your clients and/or employer. Live by your own image or “brand”.
Use Social Media to your advantage.
There are now many different online venues for social networking, to connect with other professionals, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Use these to network with others, and make sure that any information you send out is professional and agrees with your image or “brand”.
What if you were marketing yourself as a “cutting edge graphic designer”, but your design style is so 1998? This will work against you! To get ahead in the industry, familiarize yourself with the latest designs, software and technologies that relate to your field of work. Continue to do this even after you get the job.
Selling your brand to your target audience is not a difficult task: you just need to know how to go about it. Remember the above points and practice them to perfection before applying for a job or trying to attract potential clients. Always be honest in presenting yourself, and show professionalism. Remember: first impressions last.