Pacific Perspective


Sunday, December 23, 2001

To market yourself in a
down economy, avoid job
hunting’s 10 deadly sins

With 911 terrorism, companies across America began cutting back work force like never before. Nearly every day the news begins with "X company laid off hundreds, Y company laid off thousands of their work force." They say marketing has a bad name.

But I maintain that NOT marketing has a much worse name. If you were recently downsized and are interested in attracting new opportunities, ask yourself if you are committing any of the 10 deadly sins listed below?

10 >> Make sure nobody can really understand what business you're in. Use buzz words and industry jargon. Never share the results of what you do or mention how you've helped your former companies. Make people really work to figure out how you can help them.

9 >> Talk only about features and processes in your resume. Don't include your contribution to successful companies you've worked with. Throw in lots of impressive industry jargon and don't worry about professional design or paper.

8 >> Put up a quick-and-dirty Web site with most of the pages still under construction. Make sure to design it yourself and make it look as amateurish as possible. Of course, obscure navigation, huge graphics files and pages that lead nowhere will insure they don't come back.

7 >> Forget about spell check and proofreading. Assume people don't care about typos, whether you spell their name wrong. Whip out every e-mail as fast as you possibly can. And never put a signature line on your e-mail, let alone a subject line that means anything.

6 >> Don't ever network. Make sure nobody ever gets to meet you in person and learn who you are and what you can do for them. And if you do happen to show up at a networking event, make sure to sit in a corner with a beer and lots of pupus, away from pesky prospective clients.

5 >> Don't write any articles or do any talks demonstrating to the world that you're an expert and really know your stuff. Make sure to keep all of that a big secret. Also never share one bit of your expertise with anyone unless they pay you first.

4 >> Don't ask questions when meeting with a new prospective company. Just give them a long, detailed presentation on all the technical aspects of your work. If they don't understand you, they probably wouldn't be a good company anyway.

3 >> If you are offered a part-time position so the company can look at you, do substandard work as long as you think you can get away with it. Strive for mediocrity and make sure your companies pay for it through the nose. Why should you work so hard when they end up making so much money from your expertise?

2 >> Don't return phone calls -- ever. Just wait for them to call you back. If they really need your assistance, they'll keep trying. And when they do reach you, make sure to sound impatient and too busy to talk.

1 >> Disappear. Once you've completed a project, make sure they never hear from you again. Heck, if they really need you, they'll call. (See #2 above). But don't make it too easy by ever giving them your business card or putting your name in the yellow pages. You don't want to look like you're begging. Have some dignity, for goodness sake.

Should you actually have an interest in gainful employment, in a later article I'll detail a baker's dozen keys to acquiring a new job.

Joseph Ha is an assistant professor of marketing at Hawaii Pacific University. He can be reached at

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