FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Have you bought a new car lately? If so, you may have fond memories of being bombarded by salespeople wanting to help you select a vehicle.There's even a good possibility that you just went to look, but still ended up driving a new vehicle home. What changed your mind? Chances are good that a well-trained salesperson was a key factor in your change of heart.There's a message here for you if you're in the job market; it's very important for you to be a well-equipped salesperson in marketing yourself for a job. The better you're trained as a salesperson for yourself, the more effective you'll be in marketing yourself to employers -- even those who might be just browsing. If you think about it, you'll probably agree that you're the most important product you will ever market. Therefore, it's critical that you devise a good marketing strategy that will help guarantee success. The following tips should help you devise this strategy.KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSESLearn what your strong points are and be ready to expound on them. Ask several co-workers to tell you which of your traits stood out the first few times they had contact with you. Make notes. Write down the good as well as the bad things -- they are equally important in the world of marketing.If your co-workers' perceptions are similar to your perception of yourself, then you probably know yourself pretty well. If some negative areas were highlighted, you'll want to improve those areas before you put your product on the market. After all, no one wants to buy a faulty product. The marketing strategy you employ should include finding ways to turn your weaknesses into strengths, and then enthusiastically marketing all of your strengths.KNOW YOUR SKILLSEvery job requires a core set of skills. Trying to start a career in a new field when you have few of the required skills can be frustrating at best. Before focusing in on a particular job, research to find out what skills are required for the job: talk to people in that line of work, research the company, review definitions of similar jobs, and read job announcements.Once you've determined the skills required for the job, do some self-evaluation. Do you at least possess most of the critical skills for the job? If so, you will probably be able to effectively market yourself for a career in that field. If not, perhaps you can gain some of the critical skills through formal training or by working for a time in an entry-level position.And remember, computer skills are especially important in the private sector.DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDEHaving a positive attitude, especially when those interviews are not happening at the rate you'd like, is critical to your marketing campaign. It's easy to want to give up and tell yourself that there's no use trying anymore when all you're getting is negative feedback, or, even worse, no feedback. Realizing the job search may well take several months and that it's perfectly normal to not be selected for some jobs will help you maintain that positive attitude.Convince yourself that getting overly discouraged and giving up is not an option when you're looking for a job. Expect setbacks, but keep searching and work especially hard to keep a positive attitude. It'll eventually pay off.BECOME MORE FLEXIBLEBeing flexible about where you're willing to live and work, as well as the work itself, will normally decrease the time it takes to get a job. If you're not tied down to a particular location or locked into one particular job, more options will be available for you to consider. After all, there are many more jobs nation-wide than in a particular area.Furthermore, the pay for similar jobs is different in various areas of the country, so being flexible can increase your chances of getting the salary you're shooting for. Of course, there are situations that will lock some people into a particular area. If this is the case for you, just be aware that finding the job you want at the salary you want will be more of a challenge.But, even in this situation, flexibility will help you achieve your goals.DEVELOP A PERSONAL MARKETING STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENT ITEvery new product requires a different marketing strategy that is based on the attributes of that product. Marketing yourself is no different. Do your homework. Know the market place -- what's available and what's needed.Don't try to flood the market with another copy of the same product. Find your niche and slant your strategy toward it. After all, you're different from anyone else on the market. Try not to be too modest when you're marketing yourself, but don't over exaggerate either -- sooner or later you'll have to demonstrate the qualities and skills you marketed.After you've developed your marketing strategy, develop an implementation plan and schedule. Start early and set aside enough time, every day, to make the needed calls, network, do the research, write the letters and resumes, follow up on job leads and write the lessons learned. As with any other new task, you'll soon find that the more you do it, the more effective you become at the task.The job search process can be exasperating, but it can also be rewarding. The possibilities are limitless. It takes putting forth the honest effort needed to get the results you want to achieve.A big part of that effort is marketing yourself most effectively. Your SFL-TAP Center offers workshops and one-on-one counseling on various subjects related to job search.Contact the Fort Rucker Soldier for Life Center at 255-2558 for activities that will make you a better salesperson for your most important product -- yourself.