We recently attended a seminar where we heard from New York Times best-selling author & former Yahoo! CSO, Tim Sanders. As we reviewed the material, we stopped on pages 4 and 5 of the handout. There, Sanders takes time to reference Duane E. Knapp's book The Brand Mindset, which delineates the four components of building a winning brand.
We could not help but draw parallels to how these components apply to the job seeker.
'What makes you stand out from the competition? People are attracted to the unique. Anything different will automatically generate people's interest.'
So, what makes you stand out from the crowd? Perhaps you have a specific skill set or degree. Alternatively, you may have a unique career history that meets the unique needs of your prospective employer. Take some time to identify what separates you from the crowd and play those attributes up when pitching prospective employers.
From the customer's point of view, 'Is there a feel good story?'?
Please note, it is not self-esteem; it is about your reputation. What are they going to say to their peers about their great new hire? Are you known in the community?
Much like we brag about the features on a new car or coffeemaker to our friends, consider that the hiring manager will want to brag in the same way about their brilliant new hire! The person who hired you will want to brag about your attributes and most likely, your accomplishments. Why? As much as we would like to believe that the hiring manager is bragging about our accomplishments, he or she is most likely bragging to demonstrate what a great manager he or she is.
Which of your attributes and accomplishments are they bragging about?
Relevance means having the right skill set to meet the company's needs at the time the company needs to have those needs met.
The thing you can control here is your skill set. Focus on your skill set. What do you do well? What do you do exceptionally well? What do you bring to your target company? How will your skills benefit the company?
What you cannot control is the timing. Some companies need to hire quickly to meet their needs. Others have the luxury of performing an extended search for the perfect candidate. Still other companies begin looking for a candidate only to have the budget change and the position eliminated.
Stay focused on those things that you can control '“ your skill set. Make it a point to read, write, learn and contribute to stay relevant.
The final component of building your brand is awareness!
The late actor, Ricardo Montalbon, was asked about the five stages of acting. He responded that the five stages of acting are: '1.) Who is Ricardo Montalban? 2.) Get me Ricardo Montalban. 3.) Get me a Ricardo Montalban type. 4.) Get me a young Ricardo Montalban. 5.) Who is Ricardo Montalban?'
Do prospective employers know you? Are they familiar with your work? When they have a challenge that you are a natural to solve, are you the one they will call? Are they asking their talent acquisition person to 'Get me (insert your name).'?
Get yourself known. Network. Blog. Volunteer. Take on project work. Work with a company like JWilliams Staffing to amplify your efforts and make the right people at the right companies aware of your skills.
The candidate that wins the job likely will be the one who tops these attributes '“ differentiation, esteem/positive reputation, relevance, and awareness '“ in the mind of the hiring manager.