Separate yourself from the competition by conveying a compelling professional identity
By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman
Being successful isn’t always enough. You may need to bundle your assets and present them in a way that captures the attention of busy engineering managers. In a prior article, we talked about why engineering contractors need a brand. To quote business guru, author and civil engineer Tom Peters:
“A personal brand is your promise to the marketplace and the world. Since everyone makes a promise to the world, one does not have a choice of having or not having a personal brand. Everyone has one. The real question is whether someone’s personal brand is powerful enough to be meaningful to the person and the marketplace.”
So how do you create a remarkable brand? Like any great marketer, you need to understand the needs of your target audience and show them why you’re the best person to meet their requirements. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Set Goals
Every great marketing campaign has a purpose. Your goals provide a focal point and a way to benchmark the effectiveness of your brand and go-to-market strategy. Do you want more contacts and engineering contracts? Do you want to be recognized as a specialized expert in a particular niche or discipline? Prior to developing any marketing strategy, you must first be clear on the goals of your campaign.
Step 2: Understand Your Target Audience
If you want your brand to resonate, it’s important to understand who you’re marketing to and what makes them tick. What are the manager’s pain points? What do they need from an engineering contractor? Do you offer something they want? For instance, if an engineering manager needs someone who can hit the ground running and assist colleagues in designing components and assemblies for manufacturing machinery, while meeting tight deadlines, a great marketer will tailor his or her value proposition toward the manager’s specific needs.
Step 3: Discover Your Brand
Once you’ve identified the needs of your target audience, look to fulfill their desires by conducting an inventory of your assets. Consider input from colleagues, clients and bosses by reviewing endorsements, performance reviews and post-assignment feedback as you uncover what sets you apart. Are you an expert problem solver? Calm under fire? Are you a CAD guru or Six Sigma Black Belt? Are you known for designing cutting edge products? A great brand highlights unique qualities, characteristics, skill-sets and achievements that will resonate with your target audience.
Step 4: Create Your Toolkit
Just as a company or product needs marketing materials, you need various items to “market” yourself to recruiters, colleagues and engineering managers. These materials include a branding statement for your resume and an “elevator pitch” so you can quickly convey your value to others during networking events and interviews. Other tools include a headshot and/or avatar, a professional handle, a portfolio and online profile, along with an inventory of related keywords, supporting examples and vignettes for your resume and interviews.
Step 5: Get Your Message Out
Since 48 percent of employers use Google or other search engines to research candidates, you’ll need to do more than submit resumes to build your professional reputation. Consider blogging or speaking at an engineering conference, teaching a seminar or answering questions on an online discussion forum. You don’t want to be the best kept secret in the engineering world. Find ways to promote your brand – and go for it.
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