Over my years of working with entrepreneurs and budding leaders, I have come to realize that I can’t always coach someone into being a successful entrepreneur.
I can’t provide the grit, enthusiasm, and courage you’ll need as an entrepreneur. It’s risky taking the entrepreneur’s journey.
You have to rely on yourself. You have to come to terms with standing up and standing out as a leader.
You can never, ever give up.
You may not know any real celebrities (I don’t either).
But you no doubt know another type of “celebrity,” such as the CEO, President or SVP of a company where you worked, or a senior executive who could vouch for you.
These are your celebrities.
Ask them to provide a short sentence or two about your ability and character and use it as a third-party endorsement. You can use the quote in an addendum to your resume or in cover letters. (You may want to make it easy by offering to draft the short testimonial so they can do the final editing.)
Your resume is often the first impression your personal brand makes on a potential boss. And we all know how lasting first impressions are.
Many resumes are a laundry list of skills and jobs with no focus or message. Most are boring; a high percentage are downright terrible.
Think of your resume as an “ad” for Brand You.
Tell a compelling, relevant story with the resume beginning with the profile at the top of the page. Everything should work together to position you and tell a cohesive brand story for you and the job you are exploring.
Brands try to take advantage of every touch point so that everything works together when a customer comes into contact with the brand: advertising, PR, the in-store experience.
Likewise, you should make sure your brand conveys a consistent image and message at every touch point: your appearance, your resume, your phone message, your emails, your follow-up letters, your business card, your office. Everything should scream out a consistent, relevant brand message
The elevator speech is a must that many people overlook. Hence they stumble through explaining who they are and why that is important when they are in the job interview or at a networking event. The “elevator speech” is short. (That’s why they call it that.)
It should be your thirty-second personal commercial. It’s your introduction to yourself that is colloquial, conversational and memorable. That’s why you’ll want to use a sound bite or analogy or anecdote to set yourself apart. In essence, an elevator speech should convey the key highlights of what you have done, how you did it, and imply, there’s more that you can do for them.
Brands begin with a brand audit. Look at yourself as a product in a competitive marketplace. Do a SWOT Analysis of your “Strengths” and “Weaknesses”. Then look at the wider marketplace. What are the “Opportunities” and “Threats” you are facing.
Use the SWOT analysis to find the best positioning for yourself – something that you can stand for that is different, relevant and adds value – you want to solve a pain point in the marketplace.
Remember, in terms of branding, it’s not what you do to the product – it’s what you do to perceptions – to the mind of others. Position yourself and your attributes so that they sing for a specific job.
Searching for a job in a bad economy is not high on anyone’s to-do list. To be successful you need to use different tactics and strategies – that’s where the branding model can be helpful. Branding is all about standing out and getting traction in a competitive environment.
Adopting the marketing mindset, begin with your “customers” (hiring managers).
What are they looking for? What reaction do you want to get from them?
Then work backwards. What is the best way to appeal to them? What accomplishments and experiences should you emphasize? What should you de-emphasize or eliminate?
What specific actions can you take to get the reaction you want?
Kate is the mid-level director I introduced in my last post, who was the invisible employee in her company. She was smart, talented and good at her job, yet she was stuck in the mid-level while less hard-working employees had zoomed by her on the fast track.
Why is that? It seems so unfair. But visibility counts in the career world.
To get unstuck, Kate began an internal networking and visibility campaign. Kate started volunteering for cross-functional task forces so she could contribute in a broader fashion and build her internal network. Since she had a large team of direct reports, she set up a monthly lunch-and-learn, and invited senior executives and colleagues she wanted to meet to present to the group.
No longer the invisible woman, Kate now had a network of supporters throughout the company. It didn’t happen immediately, but Kate eventually got her promotion about nine moths after she began her personal marketing campaign.
The higher you go in your job, you’ll find you need visibility and the ability to create positive perceptions about yourself.
Look at “Kate,” an under-recognized director-level employee in a large corporation. Kate was smart and hard-working, but she was stuck in the mid level. Colleagues who had similar responsibilities to Kate had been promoted, but Kate had been left behind.
When Kate discussed her situation with her boss, he told her that she lacked “visibility” in the company. Kate had focused so much on her many tasks and her team that she was unknown outside of her department. Maybe her boss had even nominated her for a promotion, but other members of the senior management team may have questioned her merit because they didn’t know her.
“If Kate is so good, I would have heard of her” is how the thinking goes.
Kate was the invisible woman in her company. So hard working, but stuck in the trenches. To change her situation, Kate immersed herself in something she had always put down, personal branding.
To a large extent, business success is based on perceptions – other people’s perceptions about you.
If people think you are on top of your game, you will be. If people think you’re a B player, you will be – until you change their perceptions. You success in business or life is based on perceptions, other people’s perceptions of who you are, how good you are, and even what you are worth. Branding strategies and tactics can help you build the right perceptions in the minds of others about you.
So how do you change perceptions so that you can rebrand yourself”
You need to build perceptual links to your new brand identity and visibility for yourself.