By Susan Dunn
It’s important to market yourself (your services and your products) all the time, and the New Year presents another great opportunity to do this. It can also help if you’re unemployed and looking for a position. Keeping your name in front of people, and constantly networking are vital to your career, especially in today’s market, where the average job lasts 18 months.
To brand yourself, you need to be authentic, differentiated and conceptually consistent. Think of a tagline for yourself, just like businesses and corporations so, and build on this. Being authentic means knowing who you are, but being differentiated means knowing who others are.
Usually when we look at others in our profession or field, we automatically think “He doesn’t know as much about XXX as I do,” or “She’s good at managing one-on-one, but she can’t build a team,” or “He can coach individuals of self issues, but he isn’t a business coach and doesn’t understand emotional intelligence.”
This is a backward way to find out what makes you special in your field. You DO know about XXX, you can manage one-on-one and ALSO build teams, or you’re a business coach who DOES understand emotional intelligence.
Also go back over former job reviews as comments you’ve heard. You’ll find certain terms came up – “intelligent,” or “enthusiastic,” or “productive,” or “a real team-player.” Build this into your personal brand.
Now comes the end-of-year opportunity. It’s the perfect time to get in touch with anyone and everyone. Christmas is over. New Year’s is all yours!
SEND A GREETING
Send a special greeting to everyone in your network you can think of, and those not in it yet whom you want to court. Keep your brand in mind. There are all sorts of business-type greeting cards out there and on the Internet to choose from. Choose according to who you are. All my reviews have called me “enthusiastic,” and usually my communications are brilliant, colored, animated and, well, enthusiastic.
If it suits your style, go online to send a greeting. Here are some sites you can visit: www.bluemountain.com or http://www.marlo.com/holiday/newyear.htm. These sites allow personalization as well as music and animation. You can also plan them now and have them sent on January 1. One my favorite online greeting cards sites is http://roadrunner.pacprod.com/. I think they’re a cut above.
DO IT THE EASY WAY
You can also design a photo or other postcard online and have it sent by the post office without getting up our of your chair; postage included. Here’s the URL:
The New Year’s is the perfect time to wish people happiness and prosperity in the New Year, and any other personal message you want to confer, including a special you’re offering, a thank you for help with a project, a reminder that you’re open to new possibilities, are unemployed and looking for a new position, etc.
Consider giving an appropriate gift also. I don’t think you can ever go wrong sending a live floral arrangement. It’s the perfect gift – it’s delivered with a splash, it gets attention for the recipient, it is in no way personal, it can’t be construed as a “bribe,” and it goes away after a while, presenting no storage or “taste” problem for the recipient, like a desk clock, for instance, or a business-card holder.
Food and drink are also great choices, and there are myriad opportunities for easy choice, payment and delivery on the Internet. Considering sending a bottle wine with your own private label. http://www.surf4wine.co.uk/own-label.html will do this for you. http://conventionalwizdom.com/FirstRate/wine.htm offers photo labels and a turnaround time in the US of less than one week. How cool is that! Hams and steaks are also popular. There’s Omaha Steaks, for instance, http://shop14.omahasteaks.com/servlet/OnlineShopping?DSP=1&JServSessionIdroot=3y48sj2m61&RAND=5282 , and they’ll also assemble it in a beautiful presentation.
http://www.surprise.com/food/chocoholic/100s_of_chocolate_shapes_&_fig.cfm sells 100s of chocolate shapes that can really express “you” or the recipient.
How do you decide? For price, something around $30 is a good idea. For choice, well, don’t send meat to a vegetarian, or chocolate to someone on a diet.
Use your emotional intelligence and pay attention to protocol in your office and industry. If no one ever sends the boss a gift, this isn’t the time for you to stand out. Gifts are common from people in marketing and PR. Not so in other industries, though you can discretely and appropriately do your own thing.
SOMEONE EXCEPTIONALLY HELPFUL
This is the perfect time to cement an ongoing and helpful relationship, because it isn’t expected. I used to work with volunteers a lot when I was in fundraising, often sending them a small, significant gift at the end of a project, and then at the end of the year telling them how much I appreciated them, and was looking forward to working with them in the coming year.
JUST DO IT
There are many ways you can use the New Year’s for marketing and networking efforts. Don’t miss this important time of year.