What makes you Marketable?

 ‘Marketable’ = to render oneself in demand or to be sought after.

We at MD Selection believe that there is an equivalent, reciprocal responsibility on both employer and employee to render themselves attractive to each other.

On the employer side, this is evidenced by the extensive talent attraction programmes and the proliferation of surveys such as: Best Employer; Boss of the Year; Top Companies to Work for…and so many more!

What about the individual? How does s/he ensure marketability?

Know Yourself:

It is important to understand what it is that you love doing and where you are best placed to do it because if we love what we do, we will succeed.

In our experience many have failed to identify their niche - not because they are incompetent or underqualified, but because they resisted their passion and interest in pursuit of the “sexy” industries or positions. They didn’t listen to their inner voice telling them: “This is the area I love, this is the company I want to work for, this is where I can make a difference.”

In the process of identifying who you want to work for, it is vital that you-

Now comes the hard part: The need to be honest with yourself as to your own talent and core competence.

Some questions to ask yourself here:

This brings us to the next step in rendering yourself marketable.

Be Prepared:

Do whatever may be necessary to render yourself suitable for the role that you desire.

Be sure your education is relevant. In her book Defining Moments,  Wendy Luhabe conducts a series of interviews with Black Executives, taking the reader through their personal journey in corporate South Africa in the ‘70’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Here is an excerpt from the interview conducted with Reuel Khoza. He says:

“I soon realised that my majors were the ‘wrong’ subjects. I had majored in psychology and that was my only real claim into industry. My other majors were History, Linguistics and African Languages, which were not very helpful.

“I said to myself that inside the first six months, [of his commencing a job as a marketing trainee in a large corporation in 1975] these guys with business degrees were not going to be able to tell me anything that I do not know.

“I decided that I was going to teach myself. I read everything I came across in marketing, production, advertising and market research as it applied in the industry I was entering. Six months down the line, none of them could tell me anything.”

Work hard. It was Gary Player who once said: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Work hard, and challenge yourself, stretch, raise the bar.

Hard work and dedication combined with flair and competence will be noticed. You will have gained credibility, and a provable, sound track record.

Jacko Maree, Standard Bank CEO, in receiving a Management Excellence Award from the Wits Business School in 2005, said in his acceptance speech: “It’s not all about strategy, but about doing lots and lots of little things right.”

This will build a reputation of integrity and moral high ground.

Be Proactive:

Knowing who you are, where you want to be and having prepared and groomed yourself for the role, it is time for action... to clinch that position.

Marketing oneself is perceived to be a daunting task but believing in yourself, and backing yourself is an essential ingredient of being proactive.

You have to have a strong sense of self-worth, based on reasonable assessment, before you can win recognition from others.

Being proactive means making it happen for yourself. Being proactive entails action on your part: Meeting the leaders you admire, approaching the organisations which attract you.

Build relationships with headhunters and recruitment consultants whom you rate and who aren’t in the business of hawking CV’s around town. Get them to understand what it is you are looking for. Such a partnership may not provide that top job immediately, but it usually pays off over time.

We hope we have highlighted some areas of focus for you to assist you in your self-marketing journey.

There really isn’t a canned solution that we can all use and apply. What is generally applicable though is that you should treat your career as a life-long strategy.

We wish you good luck in building your personal brand.