The Desk

March 28, 2013

Tipping the Success Scales

Some people seem to have all the luck. They toss their presentation materials (resume, cover letter, work samples, portfolio, profile statement and URL, and so on) into the social stream (not to be confused with the jet stream of all the others zooming past in order to gain attention) and get snatched up in short order. “Well just how did that happen?” some will pout. “I’m just as qualified; maybe even more so. And I definitely got my materials delivered before that Johnny-Come-Lately!” Maybe you did. In fact, the time stamp says you were a full two days ahead of your competitor yet they got the tap for coming in to do a face-to-face meeting. Drat!

Patrick McFadden writes the Indispensable Marketing blog and indirectly explains this phenomenon. He calls it using power words or words that enrich. Patrick provides 50 power words in his enrichment post and then tells a reader that the 50 is not the exhaustive representation. Good point, too, I might add. While the list is fantastic, it doesn’t include the word “open” as one example of what could be included. Some other synonyms not in his list are words such as “alluring”, “receptive”, and “ready” but that doesn’t prevent them from being just as effective when it comes to delivering consistent results.

Actually, Patrick’s words are intended for those who are marketing their business – whether a service or a product. His intent was not to provide advice for job seekers. When you stop to consider the process that’s occurring, however, it becomes obvious that the principles are essentially the same because what’s being marketed, in the case of job seekers, is a basket of talents and skills they possess. Even freelancers and consultants need to pay attention to these power words and integrate them into their daily vocabulary (to get into the habit of using the words; to get into the mindset of those adjectives).

A word of caution would serve all of us well at this juncture. Marketo is a partner of About.com’s Marketing Channel. Marketo is offering a free ebook called 10 Tips for Successful Email Campaigns. Once you have that download on your screen, you’ll discover Marketo discourages use of some of Patrick’s 50 because when used in email, they become spam magnets and will prevent your message from being delivered.

One word in particular is guaranteed to be counterproductive when seeking new opportunities and contracts – “free.” We’re not in the business of surviving off the land and being charitable to a fault. In the early days of The Net, tons (literally) and scads of stuff was free. We got really accustomed to that. But the IT bubble that burst back in 2000 taught us that exorbitant salaries countered with no price tag will eventually be the death of all things we like and admire. (I wonder if that works on weeds?) There’ll be a lot of people walking away with all that free advice and examples. You’ll be standing there watching the backs of those who received. They’ll be headed to the place where they can get the model made, the services delivered (on time), and getting paid for all that knowledge of yours that you so generously allowed them to convert to cash. And they’ll have paid someone else for the reaping of those benefits.

Don’t be too liberal with use the word “free.” Think “freely expand” or “generous benefits.” Do be free with use of the Indispensable Marketing words in your writing, in your networking, and in your normal vocabulary so that you convey the rich rewards of being associated with you.

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