(Photo courtesy of ohksocial.com)

by Ellen Bourhis Nolan

Marketing yourself is essential if you want to be successful. It demonstrates confidence in yourself and your ability to be a valuable asset to an employer. They may never know this unless you tell them!

If you attended the recent Student Business Association/Career Center sponsored event “Market Yourself: Know what to say and how to say it,” you already know: it’s not that easy. After entrepreneur Debra Pearlman provided tips on how to market yourself, several students introduced themselves using the method she discussed. They quickly learned it required effort to do well. I know this too, from the students in the class I teach, Career Development.

Students in both situations gave an “elevator speech,” a short dialogue introducing yourself to someone who may be able to help you in your career and, in about 30 seconds, describing your skills, abilities, and how these can assist their organization in achieving its mission and objectives.

So how do you go about preparing an elevator speech and using it well? The first thing I would suggest is to write down three to five things you would want a person to know about you. If you can’t think of anything, ask a boss, co-worker, professor, friend or family member. They may know qualities you might not be aware of.

Once you have this information, practice a speech about yourself in a mirror. Why a mirror? Because it helps you learn about your presentation skills. Now practice. As the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect.”

Once you feel comfortable talking about yourself and are able to get through 30 seconds sounding confident and without hesitation, take your show on the road – to the Employment Fair. This event isn’t until March 25, so you have time to work on this. Choose employers you are not too serious about first so you can finesse your speech. Then target employers you’d like to have this conversation with. Hopefully, by the end of the day you will be wowing employers left and right with the abundance of confidence and skills you have successfully conveyed to them. But practice now and be prepared. You never know when an opportunity may present itself to catapult your career!

If you have topics you’d like me to discuss in future articles, email me:  ellen.bourhis.nolan@msmc.edu.