Part 2: How to win

I recently gave a lecture for the contact week of the new blended Post-graduate Diploma in Management Studies specialising in Marketing. I have written the lecture up below. It had 2 parts, this is Part 2, Part 1 is here.

A job market , like any other market has buyers and sellers. Employers are the buyers, Individuals are the sellers. Most individuals sell their time, the best sell their value, but we will get to that.

The interesting thing about marketing is that it is easy to be a marketer, but its hard to be a good marketer, to break out the clutter. Its easy to be a marketer because we are all consumers, its harder to start being a manager, an accountant, in logistics, in legal. You have to learn how to be those things. Being a consumer is the other side of the coin that is marketing. Its hard to be a great marketer because its hard to send signals that you have risen out of the rest of the clutter and averageness. Most of the time, the proof is buried in private companies’ financials.

So how do you become great?

  1. A strong network. The strength of a network is based on the size of the network (no. of actors), the number of ties between actors and the strength of the ties. Lesson — make friends with your classmates, Have strong ties and weak ties, continuously work on the strength of the network.
  2. Great education. Education can be split into two elements — accreditation and learning. The value of your accreditation is determined by the collective performance of the programme graduates, so you are incentivised to ensure all the other students are quality. Then on top of that, if you do well compared to the other students, you signal that you are all good things, committed/determined/clever etc.
  3. Continuous, focused skill building. You win by building a set of skills that are highly demanded now and in the future and you are one of the best selling that skill set. You choose the right skill set by marrying what you are good at, what you like to do and what skill set does have and will continue to have a surplus of demand.

This means you have the network to expand your thinking and get you introduced to the right people for the right jobs. You have the right education signals, by having a strong degree program’s certification and you performed well on the program, signalling that you are smart and determined, a strong candidate.

You have the right skill set, because you have cultivated the necessary skills to be highly valued by employers now and in the future because the skills you have are scarce, you either have a slightly different set of skills to others, or you are the best at a certain skill, or a combination of the two. The skills you want to specialise in, become and expert in, are usually a mix of elements; an industry, a specific consumer segment, a type of purchase, a channel, a technique/method, people management or strategy.

Read voraciously, Write concisely, Discuss extensively and do and reflect continuously.