It's been some time since I dipped into Seth Godin's marketing principles at What do you know? My long-time readers will know that I like looking at these because many are so applicable to marketing job seekers. Let me look at two again this time.
Marketing begins before the product is created.
If you need to earn a living, or will need to do so, then this is for you. When you enter or re-enter the job market what "product" or "product package" will you be? (And I don't mean how will you fake it!) How will you choose goals for yourself so that the person you become, with all of the experience and qualifications that you gather, will constitute a marketable product?
Doing the research and thinking that leads to reasonable answers to that question is the marketing to which Godin is referring. You need to do it with your career too.
Fundamentally, will there be jobs in the occupation that I favour? If there will be then will certain special or additional qualifications render me more appealing as a recruit? Are there any things that I might do that would eliminate me from competition? Having taken some decisions early on I would remain open to information that would help me to weigh course corrections.
Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
About a year ago I took on the task of hiring an English teacher for people who had been injured at work. It's possible that I could have asked someone to make the job interview appointments for me but I like doing these things for myself.
First impressions are amazingly strong—right or wrong. One or two candidates made it quite difficult for me to consider them seriously by displaying so little vigour during initial telephone conversations. The moral is simple: when you have job applications in process—or at any time really—you're marketing yourself. Try to be bright and cheery.