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Sell yourself and land a job
Learning to market your personal brand can improve job search results

By Jessica Horton, MMI Copywriter

The search for a job in the current economy can be brutal. The appalling unemployment rate and gloomy statistics can be discouraging enough to make you want to throw in the towel. But your bills tell you that’s not an option.

Therefore, it’s time to change the one thing you do have control of: yourself.

Changing your approach to the job search could be the boost you need to land your dream job. Rather than approaching the process as “looking for a job,” think of it as “selling a product.”

And yes, you are that product.
With that in mind, you can tailor your approach accordingly. The following are a few tips to get you started:
Brand yourself. What makes you special? What do you have to offer that the competition doesn’t? These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself. You already know you’re a hot commodity, but you need to be able to articulate your unique attributes in order to set yourself apart from pack.
Create promotional content. Now that you know exactly why you’re the best, it’s time to prepare your promotional content – in other words, your resume and your cover letters. These will be your biggest selling pieces, so they need to be good. In fact, they should be better than good. Your resume will sell your product by including strong action words to describe your skills and accomplishments, while your cover letter will sell your brand by explaining – in a creative, engaging way – why no employer can afford to pass you up.
*Important tip: Don’t make your cover letter so over-the-top that the message gets lost. You’ve undoubtedly seen an advertisement that seems oh-so-clever, but as you’re recounting it to a friend a week later you can’t seem to recall what the product was; or which company was selling it; or why those talking monkeys and flying babies were relevant in the first place.
Target your audience. Don’t waste time trying to sell to buyers who aren’t interested. Targeting your audience will help you pinpoint the parties who may be interested in what you’re selling, and from there you can customize your message accordingly. Don’t send the same generic resume and cover letter to every company. Instead, thoughtfully read each job description, taking note of key words and skills the employer is seeking. You can then incorporate these words into your cover letter and resume.
Don’t make cold calls. Have you ever purchased an item from a salesperson who called you during dinner? Probably not. The same is likely true if you call about employment opportunities while the manager at Dream Job, Inc. is working on an important project. Instead, seek out someone at the company you can contact for advice. They will feel flattered that you sought out their wisdom, and your name may just pop into their head if they hear about any job opportunities.
Choose references carefully. Every successful product is accompanied by positive customer testimonials. This kind of feedback can oftentimes be more impactful than the advertising itself. So utilize your sources. Contact potential references and be sure to ask them for their permission prior to listing them on your resume. And while you’re at it, ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for potential job opportunities.

While these are just a few ways to tailor your approach, keep in mind that above all else you should remain positive. If what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working, view that as a challenge to think even further outside the box.

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Financial stress - end the cycle of worry

Don't let money problems sour your outlook on life


According to the American Psychological Association, 73 percent of Americans name money as the number one factor that affects their stress level.

The current state of the economy has definitely contributed to financial stress; yet, many people experience financial stress even during prosperous times. Many people worry about looming debt, losing his or her job, or experiencing an unforeseen financial crisis.

Stress can take a significant toll on one’s health if warning signs are ignored and immediate action is not taken to manage stress. Check out the warning signs below to see if you are under financial stress.

  • Constant worrying about money
  • Neglecting to pay bills
  • Spontaneous shopping sprees
  • Irrational behavior or attitude toward money
  • Harassing phone calls from bill collectors
  • Panic attacks when thinking about personal finances

If you find yourself experiencing one or more of these symptoms it’s time to get your mental and financial state in order. First, determine why you are stressed about money. Then, put together a realistic plan to get out of the situation you are in. Following are some financial tips to help pave the way to better financial health.

Control spending. If you are stressed about money, take matters into your own hands and control how much money you spend. There are some expenses that are fixed such as mortgage/rent, car payments, etc. But you can control things such as groceries, eating out, and shopping for non-essentials. You can even cut your cable and cell phone bill if you go back and re-evaluate your charges. Don’t let your money control you, control your money.

Build your nest egg. If you have adequate savings you’ll worry less about unexpected events or the sudden loss of income. Make sure you have enough savings to cover monthly household expenses if the unexpected were to happen. Don’t get caught in a rain storm without your umbrella.

Seek help. If you have made the necessary adjustments and still find yourself worrying about money, seek professional advice. You may need to talk to a financial advisor to help get your finances in order. Financial advisors and counselors are trained to look at finances and determine the best personalized method for improving each financial situation.

Make time for yourself. Sometimes we all just need to step away from what’s stressing us out. It may be hard to step back from finances, but if it’s causing chronic stress in your life you may have no other choice. Tell yourself you will not stress about money, and make time each day to meditate and think about the positive things in your life.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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