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7 Simple Things To Do To Differentiate Yourself and Build a Standout Career

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7 Simple Things To Do To Differentiate Yourself and Build a Standout Career

According to the International Labor Organization, the global jobs gap is likely to rise to 75 million by 2018 unless there is a significant surge in employment market growth. This is despite reported labor market growth in the U.S. and UK, however, as developed economies continue to struggle with social, political and financial upheaval.

While this is a negative development, it is worth noting that even a prosperous job market creates unique challenges for job-seekers and individuals who are looking to progress their careers. More specifically, it creates a more crowded and competitive employment market, as a growing number of people resume their search for work and apply for a disproportionate ratio of jobs.

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    How to Stand Out From the Crowd in the Contemporary Job Market

    With this in mind, what simple steps can you take to distinguish yourself from the crowd while establishing a progressive career? Consider the following:

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    1. Open your Mind to New Career Opportunities

    Technological advancement has changed the nature of the modern workplace, while also sounding the death knell for traditional industries such as print media and analogue television. Anyone who is experienced in these industries must therefore develop an open mind if they are to progress, as they consider new opportunities in similar but more progressive market sectors. Why this may force you to acquire some new skills and qualifications, it will enable you to evolve your career and drive it forward from austerity.

    2. Try New Things and Embrace the Unknown

    While embracing new career opportunities in related and progressive industries will stand you in good stead, you should take this philosophy further and look to sample a series of new skills and experiences as you consider your future. This will encourage you think outside of your existing capabilities, as your future employment may lie in an industry that has little or no connection to your previous experience of the workplace. By showcasing a willingness to learn brand new skills and try different things, you can take your career in a direction that you never thought was possible.

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    3. Be Proactive Not Reactive in the Marketplace

    Whether looking to develop an existing career or start a new one from scratch, you cannot hope to progress unless you adopt a proactive approach to networking, sourcing opportunities and making applications. Those with a reactive mind-set are ill-equipped to thrive in a competitive market, as they will lose ground to their rivals and fail to stand-out as keen or motivated candidates for work. So even if it goes against your nature, consider being tenacious in your approach and changing your behavior with regards to pursuing opportunities.

    4. Showcase your Key Personal Attributes

    When applying for a new job, it is likely that you and your rival candidates will share many of the same skills and academic qualifications. In this instance, it is often your experience and personal attributes that will distinguish you from the crowd, so you must present these clearly and confidently to potential employers. In essence, these are your unique selling points as an individual candidate, and your ability to market them effectively will determine whether or not you can secure long-term security and the standout career of your dreams.

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    5. Strive to Cultivate Strong Working Relationships

    By sharing your most positive personal attributes in a professional context, you are also laying the foundations for strong working relationships with your employers. The same principle applies when networking with recruiters and industry contacts, despite the prominence of social media and remote communication it is important to remember that the employment market remains an interpersonal environment that is driven by face-to-face interaction. So by presenting your qualities and communicating openly, you can cultivate strong professional relationships that help you to maximize your career.

    6. Remember the Value of Hard Work

    In an age of digital communication, e-recruitment and online working processes, it is easy to believe that technology is the key player in the contemporary employment market. While it is undoubtedly influential, however, it is important not to underestimate the value of hard work and how this impacts positively on your chances of achieving multiple career goals. Simply by showcasing a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty and work outside of your contracted hours where necessary, you can distinguish yourself in the eyes of employers and elevate your career to a higher level.

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    7. Remain Focused on Clearly Defined Career Goals

    Historically, individuals always could rely on long-term employment opportunities once they had left education and ventured out into the world of work. This is no longer the case, however, which means that today’s generation of workers must be adaptable and willing to change positions if they are to achieve their career goals. While your job title, location and level of remuneration may be changeable, however, it is important to retain clearly-defined, long-term career goals that enable you to focus as you look to progress. This will help you to cope with your constantly changing circumstances and the necessary periods of transition.

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    Last Updated on August 25, 2021

    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

    As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

    Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

    According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

    “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

    A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

    What Is Your Personal Brand?

    “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

    Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

    Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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    I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

    A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

    Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

    Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

    Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

    In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

    According to Castrillon,[2]

    “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

    The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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    As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

    In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

    “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

    When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

    The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

    Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

    The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

    5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

    These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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    1. Set Your Personal Goals

    What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

    2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

    Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

    1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
    2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
    3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
    4. What makes you different from others like you?

    The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

    3. Write Your Professional Story

    Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

    4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

    Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

    5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

    A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

    The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

    Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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    As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

    Other People’s Stories

    Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

    Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

    Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

    “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

    So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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