You need a personal brand. You have to be able to clearly communicate what you can do, and keep reinforcing that message. Here’s how to create your own brand…
Today I got a call from someone who has been working with a career coach for 4 months and still having no luck in her job search.
After hearing a bit about her story, I put her on the spot: “I want you to imagine that you just called me for a phone interview. Here is my first question: ‘Tell me a bit about yourself and why you are interested in this position.”
This question is a softball… An easy, get to know you question… and yet she couldn’t answer it effectively.
She mentioned a few of her skills, some things she has done… She was well spoken, yet it did not tell a story.
If it had been a real interview, it would have been a short one.
Your Personal Brand
People talk a lot about their “elevator pitch”. The idea being, that if you have only a bit of time with one crucial person in an elevator you should be able to pique their interest in what you have to offer.
I find that people relate to the idea of an elevator pitch for a company, but very few have an elevator pitch for themselves.
Worse, beyond having no personal elevator pitch there is often no unifying story to their professional lives, just a series of positions here and there, roles and achievements.
Time and time again, when people hire me this is what I find. They have no personal brand. It is unclear what they can do for a potential hire. They don’t know how to market themselves.
In large part, I have become an expert in helping people tell their story: looking for that common thread among all their experiences that I can pull through to make it seem as if everything in their life is leading to this point/this career move.
What problem can you solve?
I’m a big fan of Clay Christensen’s latest idea around jobs to be done (See his article on marketing malpractice here), and I like to apply it to clients looking to advance their careers.
So often I see resumes that include a variety of skills: excellent communication skills, innovative, creative, etc, etc, etc.
These drive me nuts. In addition to being a bit arrogant, they can frequently be assigned to almost any role in a company.
Skills matter, but what really matters is results. What is the result I can expect to get from hiring you?
As an example, I have a client who manages key national accounts in the financial services industry. What are the jobs she does for people?
- Retains key account relationships (i.e. keeps them happy)
- Grows key account relationships (i.e. convinces them to buy more stuff)
- Handles complex issues with key accounts (i.e. puts out fires)
Being clear about the jobs you can solve is the first step to a solid personal brand.
Where’s the proof?
The next thing we think about is the proof. What’s the evidence that you can deliver solutions to these problems?
This is where the results, results, results that you always hear about are so important. For example, you might say, “I grew key accounts 30% at my last role…”
Your personal brand, in large part, is function of your ability to get results.
What’s the story?
The last piece of the equation is the story. Everyone has seen Simon Sinek’s start with why Ted talk. Personally, I think the concept is massively overrated. -Maybe over extended is a better way to say it.
Starting with why is essential when you want to motivate your team; talking about why is also an essential differentiator as you interview for a new role.
However, as you can see above, you have to start with what problem you can solve, move on to the proof that you can solve it, and then get to why it matters to you.
The why is what gives emotion to your story. It is what motivates the story, it is what energizes it, and it is the final ingredient in a story.
Think of it this way, if I’m hiring a new chief operating officer to turn around manufacturing for my company that builds custom race cars and why is the place to start, then my 4 year old son is the guy for the job. -He loves race cars more than most anyone…
Obviously, he isn’t qualified. Show me someone who can solve my problem first, show me evidence they can solve it second, and then show me why they care about race cars.
The art of a personal brand is weaving all 3 elements: the problem you can solve, the evidence you can do so, and your why into one cohesive story.
… and once you’ve done that, sharing your personal brand with the world.
If you need help crafting your personal brand, click here…