The advice that I always give my clients that has helped them secure interviews, new connections, and job offers can be condensed down to one simple sentence: get crystal clear on your message. This means understanding who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer. It may seem like a simple task, but I find that a lot of people struggle with understanding their own brand. How can you communicate your message effectively if you don’t know what it is? Read on for my top tips for those looking to market themselves better.
1. Know what you are known for
Of course you know who you are, right? I’m not questioning that you don’t. But what you have to keep in mind is that your sense of self is a result of how you perceive your own personality, not how other people perceive you. I’m sure we’ve all met that person who thinks that they’re much better than they are, and I bet that they’re not the most enjoyable people to be around. Not only do they not understand their limitations, they’re incorrectly leveraging their skills. The same applies to your personality. If you believe that your most defining trait is your enthusiasm though others perceive it as your analytical prowess, you are going to want to know this so that you can cultivate a more authentic brand.
Send out a survey to everyone on your contact list who has seen you in a variety of different situations. Ask them questions such as, ‘What are the first five words you think of when you think of me?’, ‘Please rate how well these personality traits describe my personality’. Yes, this is time consuming, but knowing this information will make you aware of how you should tailor your message and behaviour in order to express your brand effectively.
2. Find inspiration
In the current job market, you may think that only doing what inspires you just isn’t going to cut it – what happens when what inspires you doesn’t make any money or there aren’t any opportunities in that industry? You may find yourself lacking motivation in the workplace as a result, perhaps feeling that your job doesn’t align with your goals. This is exactly why it’s so important to find inspiration.
What I encourage you to do is to create a vision board. These are collages that pull together all of the things that inspire you. Making this can be as simple as tearing some pictures or quotations from magazines, to as complex as a framed, glittered, and three-dimensional poster à la elementary school scrapbooking club.
When you’re doing this, search for images that you have a reaction to and choose the ones that speak to you by sparking your imagination. What you’ll have at the end of all of this is a tangible depiction of your goals, dreams, and personality. Next time you’re sitting at your desk and trudging through menial work, take a look at your vision board! Nothing is more motivating than knowing that what you’re doing now is somehow helping you turn your dreams into reality.
3. Write out a mission statement
Whether you own a business or not, a mission statement is a reflection of your values and goals. It may seem corny, but sit down right now and write up a paragraph or so that concisely describes who you are, what your aspirations are, and how you are going to make a difference. Let your imagination take over – if your child self wanted to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and you still find yourself dreaming that when you close your eyes, include it! Being honest with yourself is the key to helping you get crystal clear on your message. Here are some prompts that will help you get started:
- What is the one characteristic about yourself that you will never compromise?
- What difference do you want to make in this world?
- What are you most passionate about?
- What aspect of your personality are you most certain of?
Have you ever written a mission statement or compiled a vision board? Tell us how you stay inspired in the comment section!