How Marketing Yourself May Not Translate Across Generations

In late December, Simply Hired had a good piece about marketing yourself to find a job or get ahead in your career. I appreciate their tips (shown below) and I think most of them should be readily implemented into anybody’s job search.

  • Develop a Unique Value Proposition – A unique value proposition (UVP) is a clear picture of what you deliver to those around you and how it helps them. Be specific about your talents throughout your resume and online profiles if you want to stand out to those looking for your passion and strengths.
  • Have a Strong Brand Promise – A brand promise is an expression of how a brand is different within a market. For example, FedEx’s brand promise is reliable shipping. Avis’s brand promise is that they try harder than their competitors. Make sure the aspects of your personality that set you a part are layered throughout your online presence.
  • Know the Persona – When preparing for interviews or performance reviews, get to know the culture of organizations by what they say about themselves on social media and their website. Align your UVP with the interests of a company to demonstrate how well you fit with the culture.
  • Perform Competitive Research – Research LinkedIn to find others in your area with similar interests and skills. Doing this helps you stand out even further because you’ll know what unique blend of skills and experience you bring to the table. Tip: work the name of the job title you want into your LinkedIn profile to appear above your industry colleagues in the search results of HR recruiters and industry head hunters.
  • Demonstrate Social Proof – Social proof is demonstrating the value of your product or service by letting others do the talking for you. Recommendations on LinkedIn, the number of friends and followers you have on social networks, and how often they engage with or share your content are all ways to let the words of others speak more about you than you could ever do for yourself. Tip: The best way to get a recommendation is to recommend someone else. Leave sincere and genuine recommendations and your colleagues will be sure to reciprocate.
  • Personalize to Build Relationships – Use social media to get to know your boss or your potential employer. Spend some time on their profiles to get a feel for their experience, their former employers and sometimes even their favorite books. Bringing these things up in an interview setting show that you’re interested in not only getting a job, but in the person you’re talking to as well.

I don’t have much commentary on the tips themselves – I love them and I know that I used many of them in my job search. I think that branding, relationship building, and social proof are things that us millenials grasp pretty readily but is perhaps more difficult or out of the norm for baby boomers and gen x-ers. I’ve been intrigued lately by how generational gaps affect the job search, work culture, and getting ahead and I could see these tips being lost on someone who doesn’t function daily in the social media frame of youth culture.

For example, I have a family member right now who is of the baby boomer generation and looking for work. A full 9-5 job is less appealing to this person right now because they are a bit older and have worked in that model for a long time. But the thought of building a personal brand, using networks, and consulting while absolutely appealing, is also really scary – it’s something that the young folks do. My goal with this family member has been to stress the positive of this alternative work scenario 1) working from home 2) setting a schedule 3) setting fees 4) picking and choosing the work you want to do! It sounds like a dream to me but I can see the hurdles here too for someone who may not have thought of branding themselves in these ways.

All of the aforementioned tips are age-old with a contemporary twist. Using your networks and branding yourself isn’t a reinvention of the wheel. But the pathways and the technology have changed. So in keeping with my generational gaps questions, how do we help baby boomers search for work with modern eyes and get over the fear that comes with work freedom.




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