The Power of Personal Positioning

September 1, 2016

It sounds harsh, but I believe the two questions employers are really asking when you apply for a job are: “So what?” and “Why you?”

Self-marketing is central to what I teach students as they prepare for jobs in media. Together, we develop, understand and articulate their “personal branding statement.” We package the student’s strengths, experiences, portfolio and measurable accomplishments, connecting their unique assets with an employer’s specific needs.

Equally important is “personal positioning.” Beyond the positive perception created from your personal brand, this requires insight into the target market and focuses on what differentiates you from the competition. You need to:

  • Know the employer and problems that you can solve.
  • Articulate your value, specialty or frame of reference.
  • Promise rational and emotional benefits for the employer.
  • Back it up with reasons to believe you!

I’m a former television reporter who is now a career adviser to media students. I positioned myself as a WVU alumnus with education and practical experience. I promised I could use my investigative skills to uncover new opportunities and leverage my personal network to make new connections for students. I backed it up with testimonials from young co-workers who I mentored and proved it by presenting an audition seminar.

You’d have to ask the dean and the selection committee, but I believe effective personal positioning is what won me the job. As a PR practitioner, you understand how to make these concepts work for your clients. Now make them work for you!

Eric Minor, M.S. IMC, BSJ, is the director of student careers and opportunities at the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University.


Mike Fulton says:

Eric: You are right on the money in preparing graduates and alumni for the workplace. Applicants who get to the in-person interview need to be prepared, energetic and engaging. Thanks for your column. You do an excellent job in starting early and matching up applicants with employment opportunities! Best wishes, Mike

Sept. 6, 2016

John McPherson says:

Great advise, Eric. Having just conducted a series of interviews, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being prepared and having done your homework. Being able to clearly state how your experience is directly applicable to helping the company is also essential. Having testimonials and examples of success at the ready is sure to impress. Great article from someone who knows how to tackle the trials of finding -and landing- that perfect job. John

Sept. 10, 2016

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