As a professional career coaching firm, many clients initially come to us hoping that we can help them assess and improve their “marketability” in today’s world of work. This request might come to us from an individual who has been job hunting for several months on his or her own, without success, or it might come from a highly proactive individual who sees the value of maximizing their marketability right from the outset — potentially shaving months of time off their search and allowing for the creation of multiple quality job opportunities.
Along these lines, while there are dozens of variables that might affect how the job market will react to any one particular candidate, we’d suggest this simple formula as a general rule of thumb:
Qualifications + Salesmanship = Marketability
In a nutshell, this equation spells out the fundamental variables of job hunting success. You must first examine your Qualifications in detail and decide whether or not you have the skills, education, and work experience to be competitive in your current employment field. If not, it’s highly recommended that you begin taking immediate steps to shore yourself up in these areas, both to increase your short-term marketability and enhance your long-term career success. Examples of qualifications include your educational credentials, the timeliness of your skill sets, the stability of your work history, the number of quantifiable accomplishments you have to offer, and the relevancy of your past job titles.
The second variable, Salesmanship, relates to your ability to promote yourself effectively in the market and to convincingly persuade employers that you can solve their problems. Frankly, despite the level of qualifications possessed, many job seekers have only had the chance to develop rudimentary abilities in the self-sales arena. For this reason, the support and training of a quality career coach often turns out to be the most dramatic short-term route to increased marketability. Elements of salesmanship include professional networking skills, competitive interviewing savvy, copywriting skills (resume and cover letters), market research, prospecting and target company identification, and branding — which involves developing an in-depth understanding of the factors that differentiate you from other candidates.
While there’s certainly more to effective job hunting than these elements alone, they are definitely the two most pivotal factors that determine how attractive you are likely to be to today’s employers!