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Marketing Yourself

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What are the prospects for finding a job? Without a doubt, the number of entry-level jobs that don't require technical expertise of some type (accounting, engineering, computers, etc.) has drastically diminished within the last decade. Good jobs are still available to graduates with non-technical degrees, but those graduates have to be more skilled in job-hunting.

Marketing Yourself
Isn't it hard to get a job with a general degree? If you think so, yes. That attitude will show through in all you do or say. But most organizations are run by people with non-technical degrees and most jobs demand skills that are developed in any educational program.

Most jobs seem to have such specific requirements. Most that you hear about, anyway. Usually what is more important than specific requirements are the skills of thinking, working with people, and interrelating concepts. These skills, if you can show you have them, will open more doors for you than any others.

What are selling points I may be overlooking?

You can probably pick from this list:
  • A broad and fresh perspective of the job
  • An unbiased, non-political approach to thinking
  • The ability to relate different concepts to each other
  • The ability to solve problems and think critically
  • A "learning" attitude and ability to adapt to change
  • The skills of writing, researching, evaluating
  • Energy, enthusiasm, interest, motivation, initiative
  • Good work habits and communication skills
  • Low cost compared to more experienced candidates
How do I market these abilities?

Learn to sell yourself and make a good impression. Document your past accomplishments using your resume. Demonstrate your strengths through your present behavior. For example, show initiative by taking initiative, communication skills by effectively communicating, willingness to learn by asking effective questions, follow-through by following through!

How do I display these traits?

By running a widespread, direct, personal campaign in which you demonstrate these non-technical assets. Put extra energy into preparation and follow-through; take actions and risks few others would attempt. Make your own rules as to
what's appropriate in job hunting.

What else is crucial?

Empathy with an employer's needs and problems (understanding his or her perspective) demonstrates how you can help and why you are the person in the best position to do so. Employers are only concerned with what the position could do for you and your career as a secondary and less important issue. Identifying with the employer's perspective is crucial to your successful job search.

How do you find out what their needs and problems are?

The best way to learn is to ask. Inside sources can help. Alternative methods are to read between the lines as to why they might need to hire someone: investigate relevant news publications, question others who know the field or the specific company, and then make a list of questions you'll want to have answered as you begin talking with individuals.

Once I discover the needs, then what?

Fit your needs into theirs. Emphasize the elements in your background that most closely match their needs. Try to build a case for how your entire existence has led to precisely this opportunity, whether that opportunity is an existing job opening or a position that you hope the employer will create for you.

What could I try to get in the door?

Part-time work until a full-time position opens, assisting on a project, an internship, contract or freelance work, or even volunteering. All of these alternatives show determination and patience on your part.

What, overall, is essential to my successful marketing campaign?

The key is having direction and showing that you have it.
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