Sunday , May 26 2024
Don't lie about your skills and experience, but don't be afraid to stretch your boundaries.

Self-Marketing: Stay True, but Stretch!

We're taking a break from the whole spelling and proofreading thing; we admit we burned out on it temporarily. This week we're going to address a couple of matters of marketing (and especially self-marketing) that often crop up when small enterprises try to make a splash.

Don't misrepresent yourself.

While it's important to put the best possible shine on your promotional materials and show yourself off in the best light you can, it's not okay to make things up. A job applicant should not lie on his resume; a marketing director should not lie on her company's website. It's fine to puff things up a bit; it's not fine to fabricate accomplishments that never occurred. One way or another, such falsifying will come back to bite you in the you-know-what.

One marketing professional who was negotiating her first consulting gig recalls walking the line between being honest and selling herself for the job. "The work called for a straight copywriter," she said, "and my background was more broad. I wrote copy as a Marketing Director, but I had never been employed as a copywriter. I did, however, know the brand I would be working on, as I had done marketing for that brand in the past. I was completely upfront with the client about my experience — and lack thereof. They decided to test me out, so to speak — which is the kind of opportunity you can get as a consultant — and see if the partnership worked. It did, and subsequently I got other copywriting jobs since I now had 'copywriter' on my resume."

Don't be afraid to stretch your boundaries.

Don't be afraid to say yes. As the example above shows, it's good to try things that are outside the scope of what you've done before. Most successful people and businesses didn't get that way by sticking strictly to what they already knew.

True, it's hard for an established company to go into a new line of business unrelated to its "core competencies," but that has as much to do with inertia as with actual capability. Individuals and small businesses with an entrepreneurial spirit not only can but often must stretch. Got a chance to do a project that's unlike those you've done before? Chances are, like the marketing professional in the example above, you'll be better off going for it. You'll learn something, make new contacts, and become more versatile, adding to the list of skills you can advertise in the future. We're humans — creative beings, not machines. By definition, we're adaptable.  In fact, we're the most adaptable animals on the planet.  And it's a good thing, because our world changes rapidly.

But change is not your enemy.  Use that adaptable brain to stretch your limits and grow your capabilities. You might find hidden talents you didn't even know you had.

About Oren Hope

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