The purpose of your personal brand is to stand out.
You want to differentiate yourself, be memorable and make their decision easy (“YES! We want to hire this guy!”)
So, today is all about standing up and standing out. We’re about to learn the oh-so fun art of engaging your audience in a way that makes them say, wow – I want that!
I will teach you how to surprise and delight your audience.
When you do this successfully, you will land the interview, get offered the work and build a name for yourself that goes far beyond the single opportunity in front of you. Because, when you surprise and delight your audience, you will be talked about.
Key #1: Show Investment in Your Audience
This means do your homework and show that you’ve done your homework.
For instance, you could tailor your pricing sheet to meet their exact needs. You could offer strategies for a merger that is being speculated about in social media. You could mention the executive you took out to coffee to learn more about the organization and why it would be such a great fit for you.
Bottom line — put effort into developing a working knowledge of your audience and then show them that you put in the effort. Show them that you are invested in working with them.
Key #2: Have Some Personality
One of the important things to keep in mind while developing your brand is to keep in mind that people and companies are lucky to work with you. You should be working at a place that wants to work with you!
This means that it is key to be yourself and show your personality, even though it may alienate some people. Showing up as yourself is freeing. It will help you be more confident and it will help your brand immensely.
This means write in the same way you would talk: use words that you actually use and express the emotions that you actually feel. Don’t forget that often, its your intangible skills – like optimism or communication – that bring value to an organization. Figure out what your transferable skills are, and make them shine!
I do want to offer a caveat. Being yourself does not mean that you should act like you are at a frat party in college… or let typos slide because you aren’t a spell checker. Its like going on a first date — be the best version of yourself.
Key #3: Do Something Unexpected (that shows investment & personality!)
This is the secret ingredient to surprising and delighting your audience.
It’s where you do something unexpected, memorable and above-and-beyond — in a way that is useful and effective.
This translates to personalized work, not a baseball mitt with the tagline “I’m a great catch!”.
If you are a designer, include two custom mock-ups of a page or logo. If you are a consultant, include a customized comparison of their 3 biggest competitors and one area that you could see them improving on. If you are in marketing, offer a list of 30 ways they could improve their email content (or website or social media). If you are in sales, offer a brief of why you want to work for them over everyone else in their industry. The list goes on…
If you are a job seeker, one of my favorite strategies is co-branding your resume. You’ll be sure to stand out from the first moment!
Investment is rare, which makes standing out easy
Investment in an audience is rare today. Job seekers apply to 3, 4, 12 jobs in a single day, often with the same resume. Companies hesitate to alienate groups, even if they aren’t part of their audience. And, consultants offer generic offerings that fail to speak to their client’s deep needs.
You can stand out easily and effectively by surprising and delighting your audience.
Invest in your brand by investing in your audience with personality and specific commitment to them.
Now, tell me, what is one idea you have for standing out to surprise and delight your audience?
Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.