You’re clear on your brand. You know exactly what you want. You’re standing across the room from the President of your dream company and you just need to take the plunge and show him all that you have to offer. But, how on earth do you differentiate yourself? You need to do more than just talk to him at an event; you need to establish that you are a force to be reckoned with before, during, and after the initial meeting. You hesitate, and suddenly another young professional comes out of nowhere and starts pitching to him.
You may have lost out on opportunities like these in the past, but know that all you may have needed was that extra bit of confidence that comes with being as prepared as you can be. How do you do this?
1) Differentiate your business card and email signature
Your business card is a miniature representation of yourself and your brand. In the same way that you need to differentiate yourself in a networking situation to be remembered, your card also has to something that separates you from everyone else. Most importantly, it needs to convey exactly who you are and what you’re all about. An extension of this is your email signature – if you are cold-emailing Recruiters and asking for opportunities, you’re going to need to stand out somehow: customizing your email signature is a perfect way to do this.
The easiest way to stand out is to create a personal branding statement. This statement concisely describes your aspirations and achievements while conveying the value that you have to offer others. To get you started, here is a sample template:
I am a(n) _____ and ____ with a passion for _____. I ______ by _____.
My personal branding statement using this template would be:
I am an authentic connector and career coach with a passion for helping top talent differentiate. I bridge the gap between young professionals and top companies byaccelerating my clients’ job search success.
2) Express your brand through your style
The easiest way to be remembered is to make a positive impression. One of the ways that you can do this is to have a sense of style that is memorable. No, this doesn’t mean digging through the attic to find Aunt Bethany’s bright fuchsia evening gown that she wore to three different weddings; it has more to do with representing yourself in the manner that you want to be perceived. You don’t need to don bright colours and hefty contraptions that your Aunt insists are necklaces in order to stand out.
Styling yourself to create a more powerful brand means wearing an outfit that expressesyour brand. But, how can clothes express a brand? It’s easy! You should always look put together and freshly pressed, but the key is to dress to match your personality. If you are bold and enthusiastic, try some brighter colours and more daring styles (within reason). If you are bright and bubbly, leave the black suit at home in favor of a more colourful ensemble. You will stand out amongst a crowd that dresses to conform to a standard, and this can only mean good things for getting your brand noticed!
3) Create communication templates
Impress an important connection by sending a clear, concise and compelling follow-up email after you meet them. The first paragraph should outline a specific part of your conversation that you found interesting. In the next paragraph, express who you are and what you want by constructing a brief bio.
This bio is prime real estate that you can use to market yourself. Focus on the value that you have to offer as opposed to what you’re looking for. It will be fairly clear in the first place that you’re contacting them to seek opportunities, so while it would be prudent to insert a short sentence along the lines of ‘I’m seeking opportunities at/in (company/industry)’, you don’t need to elaborate. Take the rest of the limited space that you have to write a brief bio that conveys important details such as your education, your passion, what you can contribute, and a few examples of how you have added value to your past employers.
4) Make yourself an expert at something.
If you want to differentiate yourself, you’re going to have to come up with something that you want to be known for. Identify what interests you – an industry, a particular skill set, etc – and become an expert at it. Read every article that you can find and share them on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. Better yet, write some articles yourself and post them to all the social media you can! This will assert that you have expertise in this area and that other people can rely on you for advice and information about opportunities. That way, when a Recruiter asks a person in your network whether they know an exceptional search engine optimizer, your connection will be able to quickly recommend you because they remember that you have been sharing original content related to this topic.
There are hundreds of ways to market yourself – this article only touches on the tip of the iceberg. What have you done that you feel marketed your brand well? What was the result? Let us know in the comment section!