You should be your most important marketing client - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

You should be your most important marketing client

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Jen Wood Cunningham Jen Wood Cunningham
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Jen Wood Cunningham is an advocate for students, educational access, life-long learning and growth and is a collaborator with community partners to enhance opportunities for youth in our state. She has a bachelor's degree in business management from WVU Institute of Technology and a master's degree in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University.

Marketing professionals are trained to craft and disseminate a clear and concise message for the brand to which they are employed. 

Businesses want customers, both current and prospective, to be aware of what products or services they provide. 

Your personal brand should be managed similarly so the way you see yourself or how you hope others see you are similar to the actual perceptions. 

Get to know yourself

This is more than just your resume; although, that is a good place to start. Ask yourself: 

What areas do I have expertise and experience? 

What do people know about me/my work and what do I want them to know? Get feedback from mentors or members of your network.

How can I promote my skills and expertise? 

Does my community work reflect my brand and allow me to promote my skills and abilities while helping others? While helping your community, you will work in a team, showcase your talents, and support others, which will allow you to build your brand, skills, and network. 

Hone your networking and soft skills

Networking is very important. Let's face it. It is about who you know. 

When meeting someone new, give a good handshake, say the new person's name several times during the discussion to help you remember, and most importantly, give him/her your full attention. Put the cell phone in your purse or pocket and engage in conversation. 

A CareerBuilder.com study from 2011 showed "71 percent of employers say they value emotional intelligence over IQ."

If you need to brush up on your etiquette and soft skills, make an appointment with a professional like Pam Harvit of the Harvit School of Etiquette and Protocol who can help you step up your game.

Your brand online

It is important for all individuals to take a step back and review their online profiles with an objective eye, as a prospective client or employer might. Use discretion and common sense when posting online because social media can help build your brand or tear it down.

It's important that your image — on paper, online or in person — is perceived in the way you want others to see you. 

Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. Find out what skills you need to polish, promote your strengths and engage in your community. 

The person you meet today could be the person to help you get your next job or land your next big client.