Marketing 101: Effective personal marketing techniques

“Can you hear me now?” Because of an effective marketing campaign, most of us think of Verizon Wireless when we hear those five words. Marketing is an essential part of a business. Just look in the pages of AMT. They are full of ads from companies who want aircraft maintenance professionals to know about their products and services.

In addition to the benefit to corporations, marketing can be an effective tool to help you open the doors to advancement within your company or getting a coveted job at another company. Here are a few tips on personal marketing that can help you get your word out.

Internal marketing

There are often opportunities for advancement in aircraft maintenance organizations. Top supervisory and management positions are often filled with professionals that started on the ground level. Here are a few some ways to market yourself within your company.

Never stop learning. Take advantage of all the training that your company has to offer. If you have the resources and time, you might want to consider taking additional training on your dime. Showing a desire to constantly improve yourself sends a positive message to your employer. Troy Chamberlain, production manager for Selma, AL-based L-3 Vertex, shares, “In order to succeed and climb up the career ladder we have to improve our education. Our present skills complement how we perform today, however, there is always room for continuous improvement. Don’t become stagnant in your career when there are endless educational opportunities out there to take advantage of. Whether you participate in on-the-job training, attend classes, or take online courses, you are effectively increasing your knowledge base, which will give you that extra edge in advancing in your career.”

Howard Siedlecki, president of Kenosha, WI-based Sunshine Aircraft Repair, shares the importance of good communication skills. “Being able to effectively communicate, both verbally and written, is essential to career growth. Good communication skills are helpful in everyday life, and they are essential to career success.”

Volunteer. You can make a name for yourself by volunteering for projects. For example, you can help organize a charity fundraiser. You may be able to assist in a special project like developing a training program for your repair station. By raising your hand to help out, you will be making yourself known.

Be professional. How you present yourself affects your promotion possibilities. Poor attitudes, sloppy grooming or dress, or animosity can hold you back, even if you are the most qualified for a job. By always acting professional, you will be perceived as a professional when it comes time to fill that job opening. Siedlecki stresses the importance of professionalism. “We must present ourselves as professionals. Organizations like PAMA can work to promote the perception of aviation mechanics, but if we don’t present ourselves as a professional, how can we expect to be treated as one?”

Apply for job openings. By letting your employer know you are wanting to move up within the company, you will be showing your desire to better yourself. Always be aware of the job openings that you would be qualified for and show the company through a strong resume and positive interview that you are the best candidate for the job.

External marketing

Whether looking for an opportunity to grow in your career or being forced to change jobs due to a workforce reduction, many mechanics will be searching for a new job.

If you start marketing yourself now, you can be better prepared when it comes time to hunt for a job. Here are a few ways you can market yourself to become known outside your workplace.

Network. Networking is a very strong marketing tool. Several ways to network include:
• Attend industry events. Whether it’s a trade show, an FAA seminar, or a local PAMA chapter meeting, attending industry events helps get your name out there. They are a good opportunity to have fun, learn more about your craft, and network at the same time.
• Visit other maintenance facilities. Some jobs require interaction with other maintenance facilities. Getting to know the workers there on a personal basis can help you in the future.
• Attend a job fair. Job fairs aren’t just for the unemployed. Job fairs can open doors for career growth. Even if you aren’t actively seeking other employment, job fairs can give you the chance to learn more about different companies and broaden your networking base.

Specialize. Another way to boost your personal marketing campaign is to specialize. Do you have a job skill or knowledge that is above average? It could be NDT certification, technical writing, or sheet metal repair for instance. A way to promote your knowledge can be to develop an FAA-approved IA training presentation. For example, if you are well-versed on eddy current inspections, you may want to present “Best Practices in Eddy Current Inspection.” Your company will appreciate the exposure it gets and you will reap the benefits of becoming better known in the industry.

Words of caution

There are some things to keep in mind that can derail your personal marketing efforts. Here are some of the career killers.

Don’t brown nose. Having a positive attitude and going that extra mile in your efforts is a good way to help your marketing campaign. However, just plain kissing up will impact you negatively. You will lose the respect of your peers and will do more harm to your career than good.

Avoid negativity. A negative attitude will damage your career. It is difficult getting ahead in a company if you are constantly negative and talk bad about your co-workers and supervisors. Negative attitudes alienate employees and create hostile work environments. Always be positive. Even if you disagree with someone, you can confront the issue in a civil manner without a negative attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude is especially important in a job interview. You won’t demonstrate why you deserve the job by discussing the negative traits of your co-applicants.

Instead, spend time on showing why you are the most qualified for the job. Keeping the message positive will greatly improve your chances for advancement.

These have been a few tips on marketing yourself. By proactively marketing yourself you can help ensure that you are ready when the opportunity for career advancement comes along.