Marketing Yourself for Career Success

man shaking hands

Thinking about looking for a new career opportunity? The first step to your career success is learning how to market yourself. And believe it or not, that doesn’t start with a CV or resume, a cover letter or video, or an interview. There’s a step before that—and it’s an important one!

The first step is to define for yourself who you are and who you want to be. You need to develop a plan and a vision of yourself in the future. While these may seem like abstract and difficult concepts, the better you can answer questions about yourself, the easier it will be for others to understand who you are—and why you’re the right person for the job.

Is defining yourself an easy process? No way. Mapping out your plan and vision is a comprehensive and thoughtful journey that doesn’t happen overnight. Think about it for a moment—this is BIG stuff. It’s the way you want yourself to be perceived by others and also how you want to live your professional and personal life.

But be assured of this: organizing your thoughts and creating your personal vision today will pay you dividends later. Start today by following this guide—and don’t rush.

Define Your Vision and Plan

It’s often said that if you don’t know where you're going, then any road will work—but you also won’t know when you’ve arrived! That's why the first step to marketing yourself is to create a vision of where you want to go.

Answer these questions to start building your vision’s foundation:

  1. Who do you want to be?
  2. What do you want to be doing?
  3. Where do you want to be doing it?
  4. When do you want to get there?

Defining a vision, and creating a plan to achieve it, will help you organize your time, focus your efforts, and give you a sense of accomplishment to keep you motivated. As you answer these questions and start developing your vision, begin writing a draft of your formal vision statement.

SWOT Analysis and SMART Goal Setting

To get where you want to go, it’s important to know exactly where you are now. Conduct a SWOT analysis, outlining your strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities you see ahead, and the threats you face. This will help you develop your career plan and achieve your vision. Remember to take your time and ruminate.

The next step is to create SMART goals—goals that are crafted to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Check out this step-by-step guide on creating SMART goals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Next Steps

Now that you have a clear vision of where you want your career to go, head over to the AVMA’s Veterinary Career Center. Along with the best-in-class veterinary job board, it also has a wide range of resources to help you market yourself, apply, interview, and land the job. You’ll find tips for networking, tools to polish your resume, and much more.

Scheduled Maintenance

Just like your car, your career plan needs regular, scheduled maintenance. Mark dates on your calendar for when you will perform a “career audit.” On those days, explore what is and isn't working, and adjust your plan. Be flexible and re-evaluate your plan to ensure it continues to keep you on the path to achieving your career goals.