by Tim Tyrell-Smith
Editor’s note: This article is excerpted from the author’s book, HeadStrong: The Keys To a Confident and Positive Attitude During Job Search. [Editor’s Note: See our review of HeadStrong.]
Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. — Ann Landers
Who are you? Really. How would you like to be perceived? And which of these personas ends up speaking on your behalf to recruiters, hiring managers and peer networkers?
Knowing who you are, where your natural talents truly fall and how to get those ideas across quickly are key to establishing and building a personal brand.
So here are three questions to ask yourself:
Who Are You, Anyway?
Based on answers from people in networking rooms, I sometimes wonder just how well we know ourselves. And despite having an unusually large amount of time to think this one through, most job-seekers know little about themselves and what they are really looking for in their career. But they know where they’ve been.
So how do you build a personal brand without a pretty good sense of who you are? And how do you get someone to pick up your flag and run with it? Especially if the flag appears to be white and without a unique design?
When you answer a question, are you expressing your real self or the self that sounds presentable to a bunch of strangers (i.e., makes you sound extra-interesting, more business-like)? If your mom was in the crowd or your best friend from college, would they be scowling at you or smiling and nodding their head as you share the pieces of you that truly set your brand apart from the rest?
What Are Your Natural Talents?
Certain things come easily to some people. And those same things can be next to impossible for someone else. Why is that? Well beyond the “strengths and weaknesses” conversation, this discussion of talents asks you to not only know what you are naturally good at doing. It also asks what you enjoy doing. Very different. For example, I am strong with a budget and a P&L, but give me a choice between that and a brainstorming session or a strategy discussion, and I’ll slide the budget over to someone else. I know that about myself.
Knowing where your true talents fall and recognizing how to capitalize on them can make all the difference in an interview. And sometimes, being true to yourself means telling a hiring manager some specific truths. Truths that may derail a job opportunity that you thought you really wanted. These are the same truths, however, that will line you up perfectly for the right job a few weeks later.
Final Thoughts: How Do These Get Communicated?
Are you ready to share with others? Do you have a strong elevator pitch, a clear positioning statement — and a way to share these that makes others more open to receive your content? If you are standing up in front of 25 or 50 people sharing aspects of your personal brand, will anyone really care? Immediately? How about 15 minutes later after 15 others have spoken? Your authentic delivery of relevant and interesting content about YOU is necessary. That delivery will be remembered long after those that come across as vague and irrelevant.
Long-winded and otherwise not meaningful loses out every time.
Your smile, your stories and your eye contact communicate character. And character makes me want to remember you.
Long after we’ve met.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2012.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy, a ground-breaking online job search and career strategy tool. Tim’s Strategy offers a strategic and smart approach to the job search process. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, was featured in USA Today and is the author of two career books (30 Ideas and HeadStrong). Tim’s blog Tim’s Strategy¢ – Ideas for Job Search, Career and Life has more than 4,000 subscribers and is read in 126 countries. Tim’s Strategy began in September 2008 as a way to give back to the community that supported Tim during his 2007 job search. You can become a fan on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
Enhance your career brand! Find great articles, tools, and resources for developing your personal career brand, as well as key self-marketing techniques to get hired or promoted in our Personal Branding & Career Self-Marketing Tools for Job-Seekers and Career Activists.