I Approve This Message

It’s that time of year here in the US… Election Day.

campaign-signs-blury-2Everywhere I look it seems are signs for this candidate or that one. It really doesn’t matter, and they all seem to scope out the same places to pitch their signs, too. I wonder, what makes one particular patch of grass the one where each candidate for every race simply must plant a campaign sign?

The signs all seem the same, too: the usual say-nothing buzzwords and pasted-on smiles over a crisp suit. Yawn. Talk about the sign version of SEO.

They get less attention than your average resume. I believe that’s about ten seconds these days. Just like a job seeker, we’d advise those politicians to have personal marketing collateral that’s aligned with their value story and allows them to stand out from the herd. Of course, the challenge is being able to stand out for the things that will make a difference and not just for the sake of standing out. That’s where it’s important to have a senior-level advisor shaping your value story. I’ve learned that we’re all just a little too close to ourselves to be objective no matter how much we claim we are.

Politicians and executives who are seeking to self-market their way into an office (political or corporate) often fall into the obvious trap of trying to stand for something but at the same time they try to please everyone or do everything. When in fact, you can’t be the jack-of-all-trades, the I-do-it-all, I-appeal-to-all-constituents (or employers) sensation. Sorry.

And when you promote yourself generically to be a seasoned, innovative, results-oriented, team player/servant leader (does that remind you of a few LinkedIn profiles you’ve read?) you can’t expect a particular company, with a particular need for your difference-making value, to notice you, contact you, interview you, and hire you. Sorry again.

That’s the lesson of standing out and for something – whether you are job hunting or in a race to win a political seat.

So, the next time you pass a clump of those campaign signs which represent politicians’ hopes that Election Day brings another chapter in their own Next Great Next saga, consider, what about you? You don’t want your resume (or career choices) to be like the politicians’ signs: filled with buzzwords, lost in the crowd, and quickly forgotten. Don’t compromise who you are, what you believe in, and what it is you actually do for the sake of landing a job.

This takes time, thought, and planning. Just like the politicians, it takes a team. We work with people like you to reach their Next Great Next, whatever that may be… and you won’t have to wait until the next Election Day for what comes next for you!

Let me know if you want some help!

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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