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August 17, 2012
Sell Your Brand to Potential Employers: Part 3
We’ve been talking about developing and promoting yourself through branding in the last few blog posts I’ve written. The third step to branding is selling yourself and your brand to potential employers; a critical step, but one that job seekers often fumble. They write elevator pitches that are blasé, a list of their accomplishments instead of something memorable that someone will recall easily. When I give presentations to networking groups and they go around the room asking everyone to give their elevator speech, only about 13% of the attendees have a correct pitch that makes you want to learn more about them. Most of the time they tell us what they’re doing now professionally, then rattle off of past jobs or accomplishments and they’ve lost us right away, unfortunately. Now this doesn’t mean you have to be Vanna White or over the top sales-y with your pitch. But you do need it to have some element of stickiness and pizzazz and deliver it with the same; with energy and some amount of enthusiasm. 

Here are some of the basics to selling your brand, whether it’s at a networking event or a job interview or even an informational interview. You want to be prepared for all of these scenarios.

1) Keywords and stickiness. Make sure you have relevant, impactful keywords in your elevator speech and/or top of mind during a conversation so you can bring them up during the conversation. To get you started, ask yourself, “What do I want them to focus on and remember about me?” Consider first: What are the three keywords that best define who you are and your brand? When people think of you, what do they think of? (Ask them, by the way; this can be very enlightening and helpful!) Are you the salesman who will find a way to get your foot in the door no matter what? Or the interior designer who also has extensive experience in construction so is easily able to read and utilize construction documents as part of their design plan? Think about what makes you unique and use those keywords in a descriptive way to help the person remember you. Being descriptive helps you be more memorable. Second, think about what the current trends are in your industry. What are the buzzwords people use for your field that others will recognize, and therefore see you as someone in the know — that you have experience or skill with? Add these to the mix if the trends are so important you think it will enhance your credibility with your audience.

2) Point-of-purchase incentives. Be descriptive in your pitch or conversation, but also bait them a bit. Pique their curiosity so they want more. Use a unique way to describe what you do, like this example of an environmental engineer who helps his clients figure out how abide by the confusing environmental compliance regulations: “I’m an environmental engineer who helps his clients navigate the environmental compliance minefield.” Think about what’s interesting about what you do to most people, use humor or a question to peak their interest, and ask yourself, “How can I make them want more?” This is like your teaser on your web page. Give them a little bit of what your brand is in a catchy way to lead them towards wanting more. You can also ask them a question at the beginning of your speech. For example, “You know that many golfers are frustrated by trying to improve their swing? I am a golf coach who enables players to shave four strokes off their golf game.” The question draws them in, and the response you give them leaves them wanting to know more. It begs the question, how as a coach are you able to help your clients do that?

3) Retaining top-of-mind awareness. What will make them call you back? Beyond the catchiness of what you say, you also have to be professional and sharp so they want to call you back for more. The content of what you say is as important as the delivery, so make sure you are addressing a need for an employer with what you can provide to them. Reference a problem they have that you can solve. Bring up a need or gap in their industry or field that you can fill. At the end of the day, the only way they will call you back is if you will enhance their bottom line. And no amount of snazzy delivery will make them do that unless you have the substance to back it up. So ask yourself that final question, “What can I say that will fill a need and ensure they call me back?”

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Guest Blogger Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. Her team of coaches help people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Visit her website at www.HallieCrawford.com for more information about her team's career coaching services. Set up a Complimentary Career Strategy Session with Hallie Crawford to get advice on your career goals. *Mention you saw us on Talent Zoo and receive a free bonus if you purchase a product or sign up for coaching.* http://www.HallieCrawford.com
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