Be it James Caan or J.T. O’Donnell or Richard Branson or Barbara Corcoran (talking from the career angle), you have seen variations of personal brands based on their unique personalities. But what is that common thread that binds them all together? Their ability to shine through adversities and still thrive in their careers by constantly studying their industries.
Personal branding is becoming increasingly important to differentiate yourself from the pack – especially when you are going for that dream job interview. You ability to outshine your competition rests heavily on the way you conduct yourself and how showcase your talent to the world.
You experience the feeling of being jittery, nervous yet excited at the same time when you are at the interview is obvious. This is because you know that your personal attributes and disposition can shine through if you do the homework and a bit of hustling to get through or swallow the initial few question hiccups.
But, is it all that easy?
Not quite. I’d say it’s simple – only you are willing to do some work.
So what are those kicking ways to outshine everyone else in the interview?
- Do your in-depth homework. This sounds a bit arduous, but get into the nuances of the company’s Web site and study everything about their business. While this sounds basic, but most of us skip this one thinking our personal brand would do the trick. But the truth is: if you want your personal brand to shine, be precognitive enough to know the next questions from the interviewer’s mouth. Make notes of how your personal brand’s qualities align with the company’s culture. Some starting points, at least for me, would be to go to the “work for us” section and determine if the company is a good fit. Check out any if they have any videos or clients they have worked for. Also check out the Glassdoor reviews to know what their employees talk about the company – just so that you have an idea about the company’s culture. This is just peripheral; you can go intense by reading the company blog, or start perusing their employees’ profiles to see what job description they write in their profiles and reading any third party endorsements about the company. You want to make sure you have read about the company – both from earned and owned media point of view.
- Have an “adaptive” personality. Make sure once you have studied who will be interviewing you, go through the interviewer’s personal twitter and LinkedIn handle (or any videos) if possible and tone your body language based on the interviewer’s questions and expressions. If the interviewer is very relaxed, mirror the same into your body disposition. You want to make sure you pattern with the interviewer to keep at the same physical and mental wavelength. But show your tenacity – subtly – via your eyes and voice.
- Show, don’t tell. So yes, then comes that very first question: tell me about yourself? Let me tell you, the employers actually decides mentally way in advance the ideal candidate for a role, and once they see you, shake hands with you and ask you the tell me about yourself question, is the time they have checked or unchecked their requirements box in his mind. So be wary of the details when you answer this first critical and deciding question. But how do you go about answering this question? Simple: tie it back to the job’s need in question and set yourself apart by sounding a bit different but relevant to the job. For example, you could stand out from other candidates of you have a blog of your own, where you talk about the trends, growth and challenges of your industry. Or, for example, you have switched industries multiple times before you find your calling, say in marketing or PR or career coaching or whatever now interests you at the intersection of your personal brand’s statement and skills you are planning to hone in. By show and don’t tell them, give them examples of your mini personal strengths that when put to use, gives a company X amount of results. But let’s say if you don’t have anything quantitative to showcase, shine out with your potential for that role. How? Follow the next pointer.
- Write to get hired. As mentioned in Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s book, Rework, that if recruiters or companies are trying to fill a position, it is rational to hire the best writer. Irrespective of the person being an online marketer, sales person, programmer or a designer, your personal brand sparkles with clear writing acumen. This is because, understandably, hiring a writer is more than just a role: good writing is a representation of clear thinking, potential, a promising personal brand, empathy, and distinction of expression. In a world of instant messaging and blogging, writing is the de facto currency for good ideas – and landing your dream job!
So nail that interview – and crack open a bottle of champaigne!
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