Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marketing Your Way to a New Career

Recently, an unemployed recruiter I met through ProNet Career Resources of Central Florida, a job search and networking group, asked me for my help. "With all your marketing skills, can you help me get the word out about my resume makeovers?"

This gentleman, Howie Appel, had been a recruiter for engineers and IT professionals for over 20 years. Currently, he's in transition, like so many others. To make some money on the side, he offers his 'resume makeovers' to other transitioning professionals. He will review several resumes at each of the monthly meetings for ProNet, free of charge, in front of the group so that we all learn not to abbreviate anything, use all caps, misspell words or commit other unprofessional acts on a resume. If someone wants a more in depth and personal review, he offers his services for that on the side. His objective is to help others find new career opportunities and find one for himself as well. And, in the meantime, he has found a niche to make some extra cash.

So, what does all this have to do with marketing yourself? Everything.

As a group, ProNet members strive to offer each other help. This man's talents lie in human resources - so he's a natural choice to get advice on how your resume is seen from the other side of the desk. He is using his professional skills and marketing himself every time he goes to a networking event or reviews a resume. A lot of these people that he's helping will have jobs (soon, I hope) and the companies they work for may need a recruiter. Who's name will they remember? That's right, the one who helped them first.

As for me, I'm a marketer at heart and so my advice to the group is and has always been to 'market yourself.' I've spent the better part of 13 years marketing companies and products. When I left my last position, I made the mental switch to stop thinking that products and companies are the only things you can market...and I chose to 'market me'.

I have started and stopped writing this post several times. I cringe to think that so many people will take my advice that this great marketing channel I have found will dry up. But, I think those fears are unfounded. First, not everyone is dedicated enough to do what I'm about to suggest. And second, the online world is still developing and growing. I doubt in my lifetime, that the leads I can generate by marketing myself (and marketing companies and products) online will ever dry up. So, putting my fears aside - I'll tell you what my advice to my unemployed recruiter friend was...

To refresh your memory (since I've babbled so long), his question was: "With all your marketing skills, can you help me get the word out about my resume makeovers?" I offered the following advice:

"I would suggest writing up a "top three mistakes" paragraph about the top three mistakes people make when putting together a resume. Make them generic suggestions and only a short paragraph, but informative. In the next paragraph mention something personal, like how you've been a recruiter for x-number of years and have seen all sorts of "bad" resumes where people just don't get the job because of these and other mistakes. Then offer your services, saying for a nominal fee of $X, I'll review your resume and give you pointers on landing that next job.

Once you've got this put together, I'd post it in every LinkedIn group that has to do with finding a job, career search and even the marketing and executive groups. Find groups with lots of exposure, meaning lots of members - both employed and unemployed people. Add a catchy title, like 'Fired before Hired' or '3 reasons I won't hire you'...

Hopefully doing things like this will draw attention to yourself. You have to do these types of posts at least one a week. Change them up and keep approaching it from the angle of trying to help others with less push on you getting paid to do it. Some of the posts you probably shouldn't mention your "services" at all. You can write about anything that's in your circle of expertise to draw attention to yourself.

If you have a blog, use it to push traffic from LinkedIn to your blog. This allows you more internet space for promotion. You'll have not only had your LinkedIn profile to promote your previous employment and qualifications, but also your blog can become somewhat of an online portfolio of your knowledge and skills. Sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it works. You have to really market yourself."

Granted this isn't the only thing I'd suggest to promote yourself, as networking in general is probably more important, but it's a step out of the ordinary. It's doing something productive and promoting yourself. It's getting off the couch, away from the job boards, and it works.

Several people I've discussed this with have had comments like, "I don't want to appear fake." and "I am uncomfortable about saying I'm the best at this or that and gushing over my qualifications." To those people I've had to say, be yourself. Go into it with the idea that you're there to help others, not yourself. And, just tell the truth. If you're not an expert, say you're not an expert, but then say, here's what you do know. Ask for help from others, you may actually learn something along the way and make a great networking connection with someone online.

Bottom line in marketing yourself... Just do it.
(Hmm, that could could be a great slogan. Now, why didn't I think of that?)

Howie Appel has over 20 years of professional recruiting experience in both corporate and agency environments, both as a contractor and full-time employee. He is currently the Executive Director (volunteer) of ProNet Career Resources dba ProNet Central Florida. Howie is available for a personal and in depth 'Resume Review' and can be reached via email: or by phone at 407-333-8158.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DNA2Diamonds Expands Distributor Network

Latest News from a Client...

DNA2Diamonds, a premier creator of GIA-certified diamonds made from personal carbon, announced today that it’s expanding its distributor network.

“We are speaking with potential distributors every day. Some are jewelers looking for new and unique products to offer their clientele. Other interested parties are professionals in complimentary industries such as pets products, funeral and cremation services, and wedding service providers, who would like to expand their product offering and revenue opportunities to include commemorative, celebration and memorial diamonds,” said Tom Bischoff, President of DNA2Diamonds.

Unlike other companies, DNA2Diamonds is a full cycle company, providing a full cycle product, from inception, to creation, to the finished diamond. Because of this unique structure, DNA2Diamonds has been able to control costs and offer the highest quality and competitively priced laboratory grown diamonds on the market today.

"We offer a very unique product at a fraction of the cost. Our diamonds are personal and one-of-a-kind unlike any other diamond in the world,” said Bischoff.

DNA2Diamonds is now focusing on expanding its distributor network with a mix of retail and service providers but also individual sales representatives with contacts in complimentary industries.

DNA2Diamonds creates genuine, GIA-certified diamonds made from the signature carbon extracted from a lock of hair or cremated remains, in 70 days or less. DNA2Diamonds can be created in various styles, colors, and sizes, including Radiant, Princess or Brilliant cuts in sparkling colors of deep red, yellow-green, or cognac and in sizes ranging from 0.25 carats to 2.0 carats. These personal diamonds and can be set into a ring, bracelet, earrings or worn as a pendant. Prices start under $2,000 and range up to $18,000 depending upon the cut, size and color chosen.

For more information about becoming a distributor, or about these genuine personal carbon diamonds, please visit the website or contact Maureen McHale via email with specific questions at

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Will NEVER Forget!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Building a Distributor Network

Establishing a distributor network is often the first order of business among manufacturers launching new products or product lines. Setting up this network can be a daunting challenge; however, by simply following these four steps, this network can be effectively created.

  1. Outline Your Plan
  2. Find Distributors
  3. Close the Deal
  4. Keep Them Happy

Outline Your Plan
When you seek out distributors you must be ready to explain the features and benefits of your product(s) and make sure you can provide the tools the new distributors will need to be successful. Don't put the car before the horse. Before you start recruiting new distributors, you need to do some leg work and ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Is your product truly ready to go to market now?
  • Do you have a fulfillment plan in place and can you meet the expected service levels required?
  • Do you have a distributor agreement with commission structures and legal issues resolved?
  • Do you have a new distributor packet of instructional and promotional materials, camera ready flyers or brochures, samples, order forms and whatever else would be needed to enable your new distributors to be successful?
  • Do you have a touch campaign outlined for future follow up with distributors?

Find Distributors

Once you're satisfied that you've thoroughly outlined your plan, here are some suggestions on ways to find distributors:

  • Go to industry trade shows and talk to people as appropriate trade shows will draw the distributors.
  • Advertise the availability of distributorships in appropriate trade journals.
  • Utilize online forums, social media networks, and other industry specific website portals.
  • Call companies that sell complementary products to yours and ask who they sell through. With complementary products, it is possible that both you and the other company will benefit through the same distributor selling both products together.
  • Call the distributors of your competitors and pretend to be a customer to get information on who they use. Some of these distributors may not be happy with their current arrangement, so they may be willing to change to your product line.

Close the Deal
Know that most distributors sell many products, so when asked to take on something new, the first consideration is whether the product will be profitable. Here are some questions that factor into the profitability analysis.

  • What is the distributor's margin?
  • Is the product or line truly unique?
  • Are the distributor's competitors carrying the product?
  • Will the manufacturer be a competitor?
  • Can the product be sold into other markets serviced by the distributor?

Keep Them Happy
Equally important as competitive pricing is providing and maintaining excellent service levels as service is a very important factor impacting successful distribution. Maintaining good fill rates and shipping products promptly allows the distributor to keep inventory levels lower while facilitating more desirable inventory turns, both of which add dollars to the distributor's bottom line.

Although price and service are important, there's an old saying that must be considered...'Out of Sight, Out of Mind.' Unless you follow up with your distributors, be it email, phone calls, promotional mailings, or even visiting their business. Putting yourself in front of your distributors on a regular basis, reminding them of the reasons they should be promoting and selling your products, and rewarding them for their efforts is possibly the most important part of maintaining a distributor network. If you sign them up and forget them, your distributor "bucket" will have a huge hole in it -- as quickly as you add distributors, you'll either lose them to the competitors or to other products or will have more than your fair share of zero dollar producers.

The bottom line on establishing and maintaining an effective distribution is to look at things from the distributor's perspective. Get to know distributor issues and how distributors function. Communicate to the distributor how your product line enhances their business. Demonstrate your ability to market your products effectively. Finally, help make the distribution channel efficient through proper packaging, reliable shipping, good fill rates and frequent communication. This will drive cost out of the channel, get your products to market faster and put your distribution network to work for you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Lesson in Social Media

Today's a busy day for me, but I wanted to take a second and post this link. It's a great article on how a company can lose control of their own social media marketing plan.

I can't express how many times I find companies that aren't paying attention to their marketing efforts, whether it's social media, print advertising, you name it. It seems they follow the 'if you build it they will come' kind of mentality. They put it out there and forget it -- a big 'No-No' in my opinion!

You'll see from this article, that, even the best laid plans (of Mice and Men) often go astray.

Read it now: Skittles' Social Media Lesson

Step Away from the Job Boards...

Should I focus on job boards or networking? If you're answer is job boards, unfortunately, you're incorrect and it could hurt your chances of landing that new job.

New reports show that on any 'typical' job board, like CareerBuilder or Monster, less than 4% of the open positions, at any given company, are filled via that method.

Job boards have partnered with the media companies and provide them with much needed advertising dollars. So, while you may see their company logos everywhere, the success stories aren't as numerous. Media companies, like the already failing newspapers, are reluctant to report the true findings and lose those much needed advertising dollars.

While job boards shouldn't be completely ignored. Spending 10-20% of your time on these searches is probably the maximum amount of time you'd want to dedicate.

And, while you're there - you might as well follow some basic tips to 'do it right.'

  • Have an up to date resume filled with searchable key terms that relate to your skillset.
  • Refresh it weekly - change something, even if it's the title. Many searches are done by date and the newest are viewed first.
  • Name your resume with your first name, last name, and the position you're seeking.
  • Don't put a date in the name of your resume - it can show how long you've been out of work.
  • Use aggregators like where all the jobs can be found on one site. Be sure to set up alerts so that when a new job matching your criteria is found, you'll receive an email.
  • Use LinkedIn's job boards
  • Search for specific company job boards if an opening is found, apply on their site instead of the overcrowded job boards.
So, while searching for that new job from the comfort of your home office or couch may be convenient, to land a job in today's market, you're more than likely going to have to...'Step Away from the Job Boards...' and network.

Coming Soon...

'Networking Your Way to Your Next Career'

About Maureen McHale: Maureen McHale is a Central Florida resident seeking marketing consulting projects or a marketing management career. Ms. McHale has over 13 years of traditional and internet marketing experience. Maureen has a passion for the internet, new technology and writing. For more information regarding Maureen McHale's qualifications and to see her full resume, please visit