“Sell yourself” has been the mantra of experts in both resume writing and job interviewing since the mid-1990s. As employment rates fluctuate like celebrity popularity, that mantra is more true now than it has ever been and opportunities to use it come more often.
“What is disappearing today is not just a certain number of jobs, or jobs in certain industries, or jobs in some part of the country—even jobs in America as a whole. What is disappearing is the very thing itself: the job,” wrote William Bridges in his 1994 bookJobShift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs. Bridges identified “the job” as the twentieth century’s concept of the career: a job one would do at the same company for the entire time from being hired to being retired. It is that job, the career, that he saw disappearing.
Using emerging employment patterns from Silicon Valley and technology, he described a workplace in which people with marketable skills move from one project to another, from one company to another with some of the companies even being competitors. One’s career was no longer a relationship between worker and employer, but the continual utilization of skills to provide a service companies will pay for.
Bridges suggested that workers begin to view their relationship with their organization as a marketplace. This means selecting and developing skills based on what businesses need and want, “Your customer’s worlds are changing just as fast as yours is, and yesterday’s services are either no longer as useful as they once were, or are so widely available that neither you nor they can profit by concentrating on them.”
As time has passed, it has become apparent that each employee needs to have more than one service to offer employers; so much so, that workers not only need to see their employers as markets, but themselves as entrepreneurs. “We are all entrepreneurs now,” says Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace.
In describing people who have let their “selling yourself” skills lag as “asleep,” Ryan says, “They don’t know what kind of Business Pain they solve for employers. They’re not thinking of themselves like entrepreneurs, the way all of us need to do — even kids who are just finishing college.”
The question becomes, “How does one think like an entrepreneur?” Ryan suggest asking ten questions. SMstudy offers resources to help answer those questions.
For example, Ryan says a worker should ask him or herself, “Can you list eight to twelve organizations you’d approach right now if your job disappeared — organizations that employ people like you?” Where does one begin to answer a question like this? Usually, the first resort is to think about companies that other have talked about, but one could approach this like a marketing team. When given a new product, a marketing team begins a process of analyzing market opportunity. They determine the strengths and weaknesses of both the product and the company, the opportunities and threats in the marketplace, and define and identify market segments, according to Marketing Strategy, book on of the SMstudy® Guide.
Before getting into identifying those eight to twelve organization, a personal inventory of one’s strengths and weaknesses is in order. Once that is known, the employee as entrepreneur can begin to describe the characteristics that companies must have to be considered a true opportunity. This is analogous to selecting target segments for marketing, “After the market segments have been identified, the company conducts a market attractiveness analysis to identify the relative attractiveness of each segment. The marketing team should also create ‘personas’ of ideal customers in each segment,” according to the SMstudy® Guide.
Ryan’s second question for workers to ask themselves is “Do you know what your talents are worth in the talent marketplace (not just what you’re getting paid now)?” Marketing teams determine pricing strategies for themselves, “When a product’s price, value proposition, and positioning are optimally aligned, a company is in a position to maximize revenues and profits.” The value proposition is the answer to “why should we hire you rather than someone else?” Pricing can be determined by using several of the sites and organizations that track average salaries per industry.
Ryan has eight more questions that are worth considering, even studying, and we (editorial we) do not want to take the wind out her sails by repeating all of them here. The point here is that for those who see the validity of her assertion that we are all entrepreneurs as workers, SMstudy has some resources to help function that way. And that way can lead to maximized revenues and profits!
Ryan. Liz. (3/23/16) “The Fatal Career Mistake You Won’t Realize You’re Making.” Forbes. Retrieved on 3/25/16 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/03/23/the-fatal-career-mistake-you-wont-realize-youre-making/2/#22546fee5a52
The SMstudy® Guide is a series of six books that provide guidelines for the Sales and Marketing of products and services. It is available at http://www.smstudy.com/SMBOKGuide/Overview-of-SMstudy-Guide.