Be Your Own Marketing

No one will promote you like you.

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Today's Young Money is brought to you by Jurny!

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The job market, especially for younger people, is full of uncertainty right now. Large banks shed 10s of thousands of employees in 2023. Consulting firms have pushed new hire start dates back by several months, with some new consultants not starting work for a year after graduation. Tesla just announced that it’s cutting 10% of its workforce, big tech firms have pared back their hiring, and the media industry has, for lack of a better term, been a bloodbath.

Given the general state of things, the ability to market yourself has never been more important. But what does that even mean? Well, at its essence, marketing is simply the act of bringing attention to something, and the ability to capture attention for yourself is one hell of a competitive advantage.

Years ago, capturing attention was an expensive, and, more importantly, time-consuming endeavor. Thanks to the internet, that’s no longer the case for two reasons:

First, the cost of the distribution of information is effectively zero.

Your ideas and skills can be shared with billions of people at virtually no cost. X (Twitter) is free. Instagram is free. Linkedin is free. YouTube is free. TikTok is free. Reddit is free. You can create, publish, and maintain a website or blog for less than $100. Anything that you have ever worked on can be shared with and viewed by literally anyone for almost no cost.

Second, the internet flattened societal hierarchies. In the real world, it would cost you thousands of dollars to enter the same room as some of the world’s best investors, executives, and entrepreneurs. That room would likely be an auditorium, where you would hear them speak from 27 rows back. But on the internet? And, more specifically, social media? We’re all playing in the same sandbox, and one well-timed tweet could merit a reply from Bill Ackman himself.

The combination of these two factors is powerful: By sharing your best work on the right platform, you can forge valuable connections with future clients, employers, and investors who otherwise wouldn’t have known you existed.

When I say the ability to “market yourself” is important, I don’t mean you should strive to become a self-promotional influencer. I mean you should more effectively show the world what exactly it is that you’re good at.

If business is an equation, then marketing is a coefficient that multiplies the value of its product. A good product will have its sales amplified by strong marketing. A trash product, however, couldn’t be saved by the ghost of David Ogilvy himself.

Think of yourself and the skills you bring to the table as a product, and your future employer as someone who would benefit from using this product. For many roles, multiple qualified candidates could succeed at the job. But what if you are one of such candidates, and that employer is already familiar with your work? You have an inherent advantage, as they have a higher degree of trust in you from day 1. From this standpoint, you’re doing yourself, and your potential future employer, a disservice by not marketing yourself better.

Some career paths require that specific steps be taken in a certain order for you to advance. This isn’t a bad thing: you would hope that your doctor, for example, completed medical school and residency before operating on your knee. In many lines of work, however, the need for credentialism is disappearing as long as quality can be otherwise demonstrated.

We live in a world where hedge fund managers scour the internet for free alpha from behind anonymous Twitter accounts, programmers build new tools and share them online for free, and writers publish as they wish on platforms that they own. Credentialism is still valuable, of course, but it no longer has a monopoly on viable methods for candidate evaluation. It’s just part of the equation. Proof of results trumps all.

My current job is a byproduct of blogging for the last three years, among other things. My man Jason Levin got hired as the head of growth at Product Hunt thanks to his Twitter game. I have seen folks launch their own design agencies, co-found startups, and manage comms for $50B+ companies thanks to their actions online. People are familiar with them, people trust them, and people hire them.

The internet, used correctly, is simply a call option for future employment opportunities, and you shift the odds in your favor as the rest of the world becomes more familiar with you and your work. Why wouldn’t you test it out?

- Jack

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