Up to 10 pages, as follows:
Page 1: cover page with the title of your assignment, your name, and the honor pledge (see syllabus)
Pages 2-7: main text (can be less than 6 pages). Follow the writeup outline below carefully and use headings
Page 8: citations. Any format works. Supply links where possible
Pages 9-10: exhibits (optional)
Times new roman size 12
1.5 or double space
1-inch margin from all sides
1. Summary of Goals: Begin with a one-paragraph summary of what you are looking for (your most important goals and your target market), so I know where you are heading. Write this part only after you have finished writing the rest of the plan.
2. Situation Analysis: Even if you already know exactly what you want (the precise target market in your industry or the company you’d like to work for) throw that all away while you work on the Situation Analysis. Start from scratch as you analyze your external environment and yourself.
(a) Industry Definition – Define the industry in which you want to work (if that’s more important than the exact job you do) or the kind of job you want (if that’s more important than the industry you do it in.) A combination is okay too. Just don’t narrow it down too far; you should not be talking about your target market segment(s) at this point. Use this definition to focus the rest of your Situation Analysis. Don’t go beyond it, but don’t leave out any parts of it. For example: investment banking, consumer products marketing, public accounting, photography, web design, music publishing, acting, financial analysis, restaurant management, advertising, human resources, IT consulting, graduate school.
(b) Industry Analysis – What are the trends in the industry (as you have defined it) that could have an impact on your prospects for a job and your career development? Consider social, economic, technological, competitive, regulatory, political, environmental, COVID-19, and other relevant factors.
(c) Customer Analysis –
i. Segmentation. Think about the industry or type of job you chose in your Industry Definition. Now, segment that market using whatever segmentation method makes most sense to you. You can segment using a variety of criteria. If you segment on what the companies are looking for (benefit segmentation) it will help you select target segments (later) that will find you most attractive. If you segment on what you are looking for, you will be able to rule out segments because they don’t offer what you want. You can also use a combination. For example, if you want to work in product management, you may want to segment first on whether companies employ only MBAs or not. Within those that consider applicants who have only bachelor’s degrees, you can then segment by product or service category (music, grocery, apparel), geographical location, company size, or anything else that matters to you or affects your chances. Another example: if you want to work in public accounting, you could segment on the basis of the companies’ sizes, their prestige, the focus of their practice, and/or the breadth of experience they will give you. Or you could segment on the kind of educational background and experience they are looking for. Or both.
ii. Segment analysis. Once you have segmented your market, describe each of them on the criteria you used to segment the market and describe everything else you know about each segment that is important to (a) your ability to get a job or (b) the attractiveness of the jobs themselves. What is each segment looking for in terms of skills, personality, experience, etc.? What is it like to work for the companies in each segment (hours, travel, atmosphere, pay, responsibilities, opportunity to advance, etc.) This means doing some research. Cite your sources properly and make sure they’re valid and reliable. Do not choose your target market segment(s), i.e., the specific segments on which you will focus, until Section III.
(d) Competitor Analysis – Who are your competitors? Where are they? How many? What types of backgrounds, experience, strengths and weaknesses do they have? Are they likely to be appealing to employers? In what ways? What are they doing to attract attention? How much do they “cost.” This section will require some research and estimation. Online resources may be useful (for example business week may have sizes of business schools that may compete with Lerner). Make sure you cite your sources properly.
(e) Internal Assessment – What are your strengths and weaknesses? See the appendix at the bottom of this page for some self-assessment guidelines to help you with this analysis.
(f) SWOT Analysis – Summarize the information you gathered in your Situation Analysis in a SWOT Analysis. Although you will not include everything from your Situation Analysis in your SWOT, nothing should appear in the SWOT that was not discussed in your Situation Analysis. The SWOT sums up everything you learned about your situation and sets you up for the next step (goals, choosing a target market, and positioning yourself for it). So, even if you choose to put your SWOT diagram in an exhibit, the essence of the SWOT Analysis must appear in your plan.
Internal factors (within you): (a) Strengths (e.g., degree from great school, high GPA, work experience, internships etc.). (b) Weaknesses (e.g., impatience, weak quantitative skills, etc.)
External factors (external to you): (a) Opportunities (e.g., lots of jobs, employer is a UD grads, etc.). (b) Threats (e.g., rapid skill obsolescence, strong competition, etc.)
3. Market-Product Focus & Goal Setting
(a) Goals – What are your employment objectives? Be specific about what you want to get out of your job personally and professionally, the characteristics the job must have, and the date by which you want to have at least one good offer in hand. If you want, you may stick to the short term, but feel free to indicate longer term career goals as well.
(b) Target market – What is your target market segment? Choose one (or more) of the segments you identified in your Customer Analysis and explain why you chose it, given your goals and how what those companies want meshes with what you have to offer.
(c) Points of difference – What are your points of difference (vs. your competition) for that market segment? Find these among your strengths and opportunities, and make sure they correspond to what you have said your segment is looking for.
(d) Positioning – Exactly how will you position yourself for your target market? Express how you want companies in your target segment to think of you (your positioning) in one sentence. Make sure this sentence is very focused and expresses clearly what you offer your potential employer that is both (a) what they want and (b) unique among your competition. If you like, you may include a perceptual map showing how you plan to position yourself among your competitors on the most important attributes to your target segment.
4. Your Personal Marketing Plan
(a) Product – Are there things you can do about who you are, that would make your positioning even stronger? Do not review all the things about you that are already true and make you right for this market (this was done in the SWAT analysis). This is where you think about changes you can make in yourself. Given what your target market is looking for, are there attributes you can develop further that will strengthen your positioning (for example by taking relevant courses in college or after graduation)? Are there job-related or interviewing skills you could acquire or refine? Is there experience you could gain in the meantime? Should you change your “packaging”?
(b) Pricing – What compensation and benefits do you want and what are you willing to settle for? Try to justify your numbers a little (for example, if you plan to work in NYC then you cannot make a living with a very low salary.)
(c) Promotion – Think about the consumer buying process and the progression from awareness, to judgment, to choice. What tools will you use to break through the clutter and create awareness in your target segment – interest that results in interviews (e.g., resume, cover letter, phone calls, networking, etc.)? How will you use your personal selling skills to get interviews and make those interviews go well? How will you prepare for interviews (e.g., company research, question planning, mock interviews, etc.) and follow up on them, to increase the chances that interest will turn into choice (i.e., an offer)?
(d) Place – What channels do you have or will you develop to access your target market and how will you use them (clubs, career services, job fairs, personal contacts, etc.). Do some careful research and select your channels carefully to reach your target market. (Don’t assume intensive distribution is the way to go!) Note that the distinction between promotion and distribution is fuzzier for you and for many other “services” than it is for a packaged good!
Appendix: Internal assessment
For the Internal Assessment section of your Personal Marketing Plan, you will summarize what you learn about yourself through this process and highlight the elements you think are most important.
That is, do not submit the answers to these questions, summarize them generally in your SWOT analysis.
How do I like to spend my time?
Do I enjoy being with people? Working with people?
Do I like working with technology?
Do I enjoy working with numbers?
Do I enjoy abstract theory and concepts?
Do I like being a part of clubs and other organizations?
Do I enjoy physical activity?
Do I like to read? Write?
What other kinds of activities do I especially like and dislike?
What do the things I enjoy most have in common?
What do the things I enjoy least have in common?
Am I adept at working with numbers?
Am I good with mechanical things?
Do I have good oral and written communication skills?
Am I good at structuring problems?
Am I good at following every detail of instructions?
Am I good at structuring my time?
Am I good a motivating other people?
What special talents do I have?
Which of my abilities do I wish were stronger? How hard would it be to improve them?
How have my courses and extracurricular activities prepared me for specific jobs?
Which were my best subjects? My worst? The most/least fun?
Is my GPA an accurate reflection of my academic ability? Why?
Do I want to go to graduate school? Immediately following college or later?
Why did I choose my major?
What is my work experience (full and part time)?
What were my responsibilities in each position?
Were any of my jobs applicable to positions I may be seeking? How?
What did I like the most about my previous jobs? The least?
Why did I take those jobs? Would I choose them again?
What are my good and bad personality traits?
Am I competitive? How is it an asset and how does it get in my way?
Am I social or more of a loner?
Do I work well with others? Am I patient?
Am I outspoken or more reticent?
Am I a leader or a follower?
Do I work well under pressure? Do I enjoy it?
Do I work quickly or am I slower and more methodical?
Am I ambitious?
Preferred Job Environment
Am I willing to relocate? Do I have geographical preferences?
Would I mind traveling in my job? How much?
Do I have to work for a large, nationally known firm to be satisfied?
Would I like to work in a small company?
Must the job I assume offer rapid promotion opportunities?
If I could design my own job, what characteristics would it have?
How important is a high initial salary to me?
How do I feel about working on commission?
Do I prefer to be closely supervised?
Do I want to be in a job where most work is done in teams?
Do I prefer autonomy and independence in my job?
Career & Personal Goals
What are my short-term and long-term career and personal goals? Why?
Am I strongly career-oriented or do I have other interests to which I want to devote energy?
What do I hope to be doing professionally in 5 years? In 10 years?
What do I want my personal life to be like in 5 years? In 10 years?
What do I want out of life?
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