What Makes you so Special Anyway?

By Barry Chignell

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Looking for a job? Why would an employer choose you over the other candidates who may well have just as much experience as you and be just as qualified?
Ask yourself the above question, can you honestly say that you can offer more than the next person lined up to interview for the position YOU should get?

So, how can you raise your profile above those of your competitors for that job?

 

Get your Personal Branding Right

A great personal brand’s a time consuming discipline to create and maintain. The majority of people will create a profile on LinkedIn and simply leave it, assuming that’s all there is to it.
Those people that stand out are the ones who appreciate that an online profile’s an organic thing. It’s a reflection of who you are and, as such, should grow and change as you do.

Some might argue that they don’t believe in personal branding and therefore don’t need to do any work to create or maintain one for themselves.
The problem though, for these people at least, is that there are also individuals who will utilise their personal brand to promote their successes, industry influence, passion and drive.
By showcasing what they’ve already achieved and what they can offer an employer, those candidates that have thoughtfully managed and up to date personal brands will be the same people that stick in the minds of recruiters.

Aligned social media profiles, interaction with industry influencers and sharing high value, relevant content are just some of the elements that create a strong personal brand.

Personal branding’s not restricted to the web either. It’s about how you conduct and promote yourself in the ‘real world’ too, the way you interact and treat others and your experience. These will all be factors taken into consideration by recruiters when deciding your suitability for a role.

One useful and fairly simple way you can promote yourself is to earn recommendations on LinkedIn. Whether this is people you’ve worked or are working with, those that you may interact with in your own time or character recommendations from friends, they’re all very useful for both your professional and personal ambitions.

 

Have you Proven Yourself?

A proven track record is an effective way to stand out from other candidates.
This is traditionally associated with your career history but should also be your personal accomplishments such as volunteering, personal achievements, side projects and interests.
As well as illustrating that you’re an interesting and varied person it will also provide a talking point during the interview.

Succeeding professionally is usually driven by the aspiration to earn more money. Personal successes and achievements display a desire for personal growth, which isn’t something that other’s may make time for.

 

Let people in

Open and honest people are trusted, that’s just the way it is. If you’re honest about your suitability for the role then you’ll avoid awkward moments in interviews that others will experience who may have elaborated or embellished their skills.

The dreaded “what are your weaknesses” question in interviews shouldn’t be feared – this question should is an opportunity for you to confidently discuss areas that you’re not 100% in, but that you’re aware of them and happy to address these as part of your personal growth.
No one knows everything and it’s unreasonable to expect otherwise.

Attention spans are shorter and time is tighter than ever before. Recruiters won’t spend much time on your profile before moving on to a competitors. If you can quickly illustrate why you’re a good fit for the role and company culture then you’ll improve your chances drastically.
Having a transparent approach to what you write and say about yourself will also help you to get to the point(s) quickly, making it easier for those reading about you to find what they want.

Simon Sinek uses the ‘explain why‘ strategy to great effect, one notable company that uses this type of marketing is Apple.

Explaining why you do what you do (and do it well!) is an effective tool to illustrate where your passion comes from.

 

We’re all Human

Everyone is an individual, showing that you’re happy with who you are and that you’re human is a good way to project that you’re content and confident in yourself.

Being overly ‘corporate’ and trying to portray that you’re professional 100% of the time is both nonsense and deceptive. Everyone’s got a human side, if you haven’t then you’ll find it very difficult to engage and interact with colleagues.

Promote the fact that you’ve got hobbies and interests outside of work, this shows a passion and desire to try different things and enjoy an active and varied life.

People like people. The more personable you are, the more likely you’ll be able to forge relationships, work as a part of a team and generally interact in whatever situation you find yourself in, and others will recognise this skill.

 

Always be Yourself

When you work with others, whether it’s new colleagues or customers it’s you as a person that will be interacting with them and integrating into the company culture.

Being yourself when meeting with prospective employers will enable both them and you to establish whether or not you’re a fit for the company culture.

 

Don’t be Afraid to Show Real Passion

Many try to fake passion and get caught out pretty quickly or just come across as insincere which leads to being dismissed as a potential hire.
Real passion is instantly recognisable and will truly set you apart from the ‘fakers’.

The way you talk about a subject, the way you express yourself, your body language and how you engage your audience are all giveaways of having real passion.

When you’re genuinely enthused and passionate about something, you enjoy spending time researching everything there is to know about it. You’ll also have a history of sharing that knowledge with others and creating content related to your thoughts and experiences.

If you regularly create, share and discuss news and content related to your specialisms then any prospective employer worth their salt will have found this while researching you as a candidate.

My online profiles are full of content related to online marketing, social media and photography, these are what I’m most interested in and passionate about.
I’ve spent a long time learning about these areas and this is reflected in the content I create and share.

Passion isn’t just about what you’ve achieved already, it’s also demonstrated by what you want to achieve. Showing a real enthusiasm about progressing and furthering your career shows drive and a thirst for knowledge.

 

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