A crash course in self-marketing: Whether you're satisfied your current position or not, identifying and showcasing your strengths should be a key part of your professional advancement strategy.

Author:McDonald, Paul
Position:Your Career
 
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"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"

Will Rogers

Every executive knows what savvy marketing means for a business: It increases visibility for products and services and gives customers a compelling reason to want them. What may be less clear, is how these same marketing principles apply to their careers. Whether you're satisfied in your current position or not, identifying and showcasing your strengths should be a key part of your professional advancement strategy.

Recognizing the need to "sell" yourself

As a financial executive who has reached a high level, you probably realize that continued satisfaction and personal reward require regular reassessment of your options -- both inside and outside your current company. In short, to remain fulfilled, you're always looking for the next challenge. The problem is, you never know when that challenge will come along. That's why it's critical to take a proactive approach to marketing yourself. If you wait for an opportunity to hit you in the face, it'll already be too late to take full advantage of it.

It's not enough to simply be good at what you do. In today's market, you must make your talents constantly visible. While those who work most closely with you may be familiar with your abilities, they may not necessarily be the people to help with your next career move. Your goal should be to display your expertise to a wide audience.

Self-marketing not only generates awareness of your capabilities, but also indicates your openness to new possibilities. In effect, you act as your own headhunter.

Indeed, self-marketing is not just a tool for job advancement: It can also help you maximize your effectiveness and get more from your current position. Wider recognition of your talents brings additional professional respect, which can help you build better teams and secure buy-in on your projects.

Sizing up what you have to offer

Any self-promotion strategy must begin with an honest assessment of what you bring to the table. If you don't know your own professional value, how will you convince others of it?

To make an objective evaluation, you'll need to benchmark your talent against those in your profession and industry, and determine which abilities are currently most in demand. As a tenured professional, you no doubt have an array of skills. The goal, however, is to focus on those competencies that add value, make a bottom-line impact and contribute to an...

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