Step

All Steps

Develop Your Authentic Differentiated Brand

INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

Your brand Why is your brand so important?

Our brand is what makes us unique and stand out from the competition.  It conveys what value we bring to daily. It’s our opportunity to humanize ourselves through an authentic story of how we got to where we are today. It also gives the chance to take a closer look at what we want to bring to the table at work. The first couple of sections help you flesh this out, but now you get to be creative in how you want to convey this.

This is your chance to be creative, and let your personality and superpowers stand out!  After defining your brand you will be able to highlight it in your: cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile.

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Create your brand statement (elevator speech) for your work or business.

This statement will be on all of your marketing and communications material and used as a personal authentic reference to what defines and drives you or your business.

What are the top unique attributes that define how you or your business make things happen? What differentiates you from your competition? Why are you doing this? What are you known for and what are people seeking you out for?  Your meaning for your career may or may not be conveyed in this statement. It depends on it makes sense for hiring, networking or marketing purposes.

Suggestion: Create a fun authentic version as well for less formal interactions with people.

Building blocks for a creating your brand positioning or elevator statement:

 (A) What you primarily commit or dedicate yourself to in your work +  (B) how you uniquely create change or ways you serve in your work.

Examples

Formal: “My commitment to tackling climate change problems includes helping businesses strategically cut back waste in a way that also benefits their bottom line using triple-bottom-line economics.”

Informal: “I care about the planet and climate change, and people often get stressed when I bring it up, so I focus on greater impact with my efforts… by working with businesses to cut back waste. It’s a win-win because businesses typically can make the most change, and it actually helps reduce costs for them simultaneously.”

Formal: “I am dedicated toward strategically researching ways for at-risk students to learn how to read, and frequently share my knowledge and research by blogging, speaking at conferences, and on webinars.”

Informal: “I teach people how to teach people how to read. I blog, give webinars, share my research on the most effective and efficient ways of teaching people how to read so that more kids can get the help they need.”

A brand is important because we have to be in tune with what we authentically can and want to offer at work in terms of strengths and drives in order to market ourselves so we can continue to advance in our careers. This requires you to convey it quickly, succinctly, and in a consistent manner, not just when you are job searching, but when simply working or networking.

Brand Positioning/Elevator Statement (Create both formal and informal versions.)
INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

INSTRUCTIONS

THIS STEP IS ONLY FOR YOU….your eyes only…Your personal brand concept.  It will not show up anywhere. This is somewhat like a personal concept of how you want to grow.  Think somewhat like a mission statement.

If you aren’t properly managing your online reputation, then you are actively losing out on job opportunities. The average person now switches jobs every 2-3 years and 40% of the workforce will freelance by 2020, so a strong personal brand is more important than ever before. You need a personal brand in order to become successful in today’s workforce.

Branding is built upon the history of you- your reputation. Who were you in school? Who were you in your community? Who are you in the cyberspace of today? Branding can begin with a google search of your name and recognizing and editing what people see when they try to find out more about you. Your physical presence can be prejudiced on your immaterial presence: the posts, comments, and words of others built an image of you before it was ever brought to life by your appearance in an interview.

In Step 2: Your Personal Brand Concept- Think of this statement of how you want to contribute back as a human on this planet both professionally and personally.  This statement is for you to remember as you move forward in your career…to keep you on track with how you want to grow…to remember how you want to bring value on a daily basis to your work.

Who are you and what is important to you to accomplish in this lifetime?  Research has shown that adding meaning or defining your core values of how you want to grow can become the fuel for getting up every morning.  It can be something you thread into an existing job through volunteer work, working in a specifics industry, type of role you take on, etc.

Building blocks for a creating your Personal Brand Concept:

(A) Who are you? (B) How do you want to bring value and service to work + (C) How do you want people to remember or perceive you as an individual or leader?

“ Education is important to me and I want to incorporate that in some way into my job.  I want to be part of great positive change an organization that I can stand behind while simultaneously opening minds to new ideas. I want to eventually head into fundraising, so everything that I am learning now in sales will apply to skills needed for fundraising. I just want to look back on my life and know I made great change.  I want to be thought of as the “go to” person to make things happen.  I want to be perceived as someone who is approachable, honest, straight-forward, and can make difficult decisions when needed.  I want to operate with full integrity.”

Need inspiration?  No one says this better than Oprah in this video. Strive for 3 things:

  1. Know who you are.
  2. Be of service in your work. Use your work as a mission with a purpose.
  3. Be excellent. Do the right thing, even when others challenge it.

Oprah Winfrey’s Life Advice Will Change Your Future

Your Personal Brand Concept/Mission Statement (Your concept of who you are, what is important to you, and how you want to bring value to your work. How do you want people to perceive you?)
INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 3: Define your transitioning statement if needed. This is only for the unemployed or career transitioners. You are not defined by where you are currently in your career, but overall, how you have contributed.

Speak in terms of your overall numbers of years of working in an industry and how you are now putting your efforts to a different field where you bring value by utilizing past skills and experiences. Try not to speak in terms of quitting or losing your job, but instead focus on the positive (remember the Law of Attraction). You are more than just your job, and what you have contributed to your work in the past years does matter.

For people who move within 1-2 years: First off- the perception of job hopping is changing: “Hiring Job Hoppers: 10 Reasons Why They Are So Very Valuable”1. If you have moved around every 1-2 years, then most likely you are an explorer or exploring for the right opportunity in your line of work. Employers do, though, have a hard time with this since they invest a lot of time and resources to train you. Talk to your coach about this, because you want to try to eliminate this perception. If you are truly just looking for the right opportunity than you can convey that in your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile.

Examples

Transitioner example

“ I have worked as an adult educator for the past 20 years and am now shifting my focus toward consulting parents on strategically choosing colleges for their kids.”

Unemployed example

“ I have worked as an adult educator for the past 20 years and am currently looking for a challenging opportunity utilizing these talents in either higher ed or the training arena.”

Job Elimination Example (your exit statement)

  1. Why you left your job. Keep this part as short as possible. Never say anything negative about your previous boss or company.
  2. What position you are looking for. Sound positive and enthusiastic. Get in something about your qualifications, but still keep it fairly brief.

Here’s an example:
As a result of the merger of  Company A and Company B, 500 positions were eliminated, including mine. I am now exploring opportunities in the beverage industry that will take full advantage of my extensive management experience, as well as my marketing and sales background.

An example of someone that has moved around to many jobs

For the last 7 years, I have been exploring various industries and company sizes (just call out the obvious that is on your resume), as I have honed in on my strengths, talents, and value I can bring to my work. I am now ready to fully commit to a challenging opportunity in an X size company that promotes XYZ and feel your company would be a great fit for me because my strengths and value align.”

 

1) Sullivan, Dr. John. “Hiring Job Hoppers: 10 Reasons Why They Are So Very Valuable.” ERE Media, 2 June 2015, www.tlnt.com/hiring-job-hoppers-10-reasons-why-they-are-so-very-valuable/.
Transitioning/Exit Statement (For those that are out of work or transitioning fields.)
INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 4: What is YOUR story? (very important)

Pretend you are at a party, and people want to get to know the “real” you. Who are you? What do you enjoy doing? What really motivates you? Go back to the “DISCOVER” and “ALIGN” sections for inspiration. During interviews, employers will ask about YOU, and you are MUCH MORE than just your work. This is a good chance to use your humor.

Research shows that it is not logistics or rationale that “sells” a product, but it is the emotional appeal, and nothing gets that across better than conveying it in a story.

This is no different than when applying for a job we desire. Since we are in essence, selling ourselves, our skills, and our talents to get a job, it may be the logistics and rationale that get us an interview, but it is the emotional appeal that will get us the job. (Read more about this in sales by the Harvard Business Review article: “When to Sell with Facts and Figures, and When to Appeal to Emotions“.)

To have a story ready during your interviewing process can help convey your “humanness”, even if you are not really a people person.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Create Your Story

Why did you get into this line of work?

What specifically did you believe needed to be changed or improved and why?

What part of your history is really different or stand out?

What is something that a stranger or even a friend might not know about you, but would find interesting?

What have been your biggest struggles?

What have you learned along the way?

Examples

“I got into outdoor marketing because I am a community-minded person who loves the outdoors. My love for the outdoors extends to biking and mountain-climbing. But I have the most fun when I go with a group of people who love these sports. So it is really the community piece of this that energizes me. I even have blended my marketing talents with my community by setting up a town Facebook page in case someone is in need or wants to communicate something important or relevant.”

1) Harris, Michael D. “When to Sell with Facts and Figures, and When to Appeal to Emotions.”Harvard Business Review, 26 Jan. 2015, hbr.org/2015/01/when-to-sell-with-facts-and-figures-and-when-to-appeal-to-emotions.

 

 

Your Story (Conveys who you are.)
INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 5: What’s your tag line?
This is really for you. It is to remind you what is your meaning and purpose for in your work or business.

Examples

Examples can be humorous or serious:
“ I fix ‘broken’ animals.” (Wild Animal Rehabilitator)
“I clean up human messes.” (Conflict Negotiator)
“I elevate human potential.” (HR Director)

“We help realize human potential.” (Career Consultant)
“We help businesses succeed.” (Business Coach)
“We help businesses get the word out easily and succinctly.” (Videographer)

Step 5: What’s your tag line?

Your Tag Line (One short sentence that reminds yourself and others why you do what you do.)
Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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Step

What’s YOUR Superpower (Differentiator)? Create your value proposition from it.

INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

INSTRUCTIONS

calm is a superpower

What’s Your Superpower?

Based on our research, we have noticed that everyone who is successful in work or businesses tends to have a strength or talent that really stands out.  

With Steve Jobs, it was his ability to envision a product that could change the world, and then gather the right talent to see it through fruition. Elon Musk is a great visionary who chooses often to disrupt entire systems with a new system that is more efficient, rather than build a solution within an existing system.

More obvious types of superpowers could include: being great connectors, brilliant team builders, or having amazing visual-spacial capabilities, strategic business acumen, or lightening-speed project implementers, etc.

When working in business, we talk about the need to pair up with people that have complementary (or opposite) “superpowers” so that we can work together with synergy as a highly effective team. That’s how leaders strategically pull together great teams. This concept works well if you are an employee or a consultant or freelancer working with others.

Let’s start with your individual superpowers and then we’ll combine them to create a superpower (value proposition) statement.

Let’s have some fun with this and figure out your superpower statement! It may be a combo of a few of your top strengths or skills. Often, I find that people only show their superpowers in their personal lives. If they brought it over to their professional lives- they would be on fire! You may already be aware of your superpowers, but if not, ask around to people who seem to really know you (personally or professionally)- who have worked on projects, volunteered, or interacted with you to get something done.

Examples of Superpowers

“I am a thought leader who gets the unthinkable done by aggregating resources. I can move mountains for I am very focused and am typically unable to ”quit” until the project is finished.”.
“I am an evangelist who does not come up with the ideas but can get the message across like no one else. I get people excited!”
“I have a love affair with numbers… people…not so much…. but numbers- I can see the future, past and present in the numbers. Your business WILL be thriving if I am in charge of them.”
“I LIVE to CREATE processes and efficiencies in businesses. I can take a “shipwreck” of a division and clean it up so it is running like a well-oiled machine.”
“I am a calming agent that rallies others together when the seas are rough.”
“I am the tech whisperer. I get all info systems purring in synchronicity behind a secure ”Rock of Gibraltar” firewall.”
“I am the “human Rolodex”. I never forget a face, name, or a person’s story. People call me when they need a specific connection with another.”

Your superpower statements can be combined to create a value proposition statement that you can put on your resume.

Now combine your superpowers and your brand into something larger like a value proposition statement. You can even have multiple superpowers that come together with your brand into this statement. This can go on the top of your resume and in the summary of your LinkedIn profile. Try to include your biggest metric or two in there.

An example:

Sales professional with more than 10 years of experience in leadership, sales, and customer service. Self-motivated with prior success building and leading high-performance teams. Generated $1 million in revenue within the Northeast region by both increasing sales within the existing client base and bringing in new business from referrals. Inspire team performance by developing, mentoring, and coaching employees. Consistent record of transforming challenges into expansive business opportunities.

High-impact communicative leader in Operations and Business Management with a proven track record to double revenue growth by improving processes.  Able to identify and break through impeding barriers by building collaborative dynamic teams that create solutions for increasing revenue, controlling cost, maximizing margins and building stronger more profitable businesses.

Another example:

Project management [title of the job] professional with more than 10 years of experience in leadership, sales, team collaboration, and customer relationship building. Self-motivated with prior success building and leading high-performance organizations. Generated $5 million in revenue within the NW region by both increasing sales within the existing client base and bringing in new business from referrals. Lead teams by inspiring superior performance by developing mentoring programs. Visionary change agent with a consistent record of transforming challenges into expansive business opportunities.

 

Everyone has a specific strength or superpower that differentiates themselves from others. Sometimes this statement becomes your value proposition statement as well. If you want to be remembered, hone in on your unique strengths.

1. Write Your Superpower (Differentiator) Statements (Biggest way you move mountains.) 2. Combine these into one large Superpower Statement (Value Proposition Statement) (This will go at the top of your resume.)

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Step

Develop Your Value or Measurable Results Statements

INSTRUCTIONS & EXAMPLES

INSTRUCTIONS

Converting Experience, Strengths, and Skills to Value (Measurable Results) to Get Noticed

When you are working, the number one way to stay valued in your job is to think, “How am I creating the value this business needs?”  and “How am I reporting it consistently (weekly emails, reports, etc.).”

Understanding your value that you provide in your work and to your organization is at the base of so many aspects of your career.  It is what makes us stand out, help us win jobs, get promotions, and earn a higher salary. When we truly understand how we bring our talents and strengths into our work, then we have a core to grow from. We can continue to cultivate our strengths and talents so we can serve our colleagues, clients, organizations, and this planet better.  And the benefits to this mindset are exponential.  It gives us confidence so that we can then sell our value to organizations we would love to work for,  and we can ask for higher raises based on our value- and not what the going rate is for that position.

Employees: Convert your experience, strengths, and skills to value below. This is the one area that is the most important area that will help you keep in good graces with your employees, earn pay raises, and get you hired. Use any metrics, measurements, and data that you know of that have truly made an impact in your prior work. If you get stuck, work with a coach.   It will go in your resume, LinkedIn profile, and you will reference it in your interviews and during salary negotiation.

Consultants/Freelancers: Converting results from past work experiences and clients to value/results statements for future clients.  Clients need to know how you can help them, and how your results have helped people like them in the past.  Your statements can be used for your marketing efforts, PR, or just conversing with clients.

Examples

• sales volume, dollars, and percentages tied to revenue generation, the number of items/units sold
• contracts/bids won (ever a top seller?)
• increase in market share
• research that benefits something in some way
• size of your professional/personal network/number of LinkedIn connections
• number of blogs you have written
• thought leader credibility (speaking engagements, blogs, podcasts, etc.)
• arranging large functions that create a benefit in some way
• conflict-resolution and fast-thinking problem-solving skills that keep things running smoothly and projects on track
• increase in recognition by promoting something for an entity
• increase in credibility by becoming a thought leader or a credible voice for an organization or entity
• increase in profitability
• teamwork that improves an organization or entity in some way and creates better productivity
• increase in shareholder value
• numbers of customers served
• numbers of customers retained
• numbers, percentages of internal performance benchmarks achieved
• number of direct reports you managed
• number of people you’ve hired
• size of teams you’ve led
• new ideas or projects you have successfully developed with methods for benchmarking success
• amount of money you’ve saved
• budgets/funds you have saved
• percentages by which you’ve improved efficiency
• numbers of anything you’ve done in great quantity, such as developing or repairing something
• large projects you have successfully created
• process-improvement percentages
• cost-containment as compared to industry averages
• number of times selected as team or project lead
• time frames of accomplishments, especially when you exceed deadlines or expectations
• how you rank in performance
• number of awards, publications or awarded grants

Some of these bulleted items have come from, “How to Quantify Your Accomplishments for Employers.” Quintessential LiveCareer. s, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.
https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/quantifying-accomplishments

Now Put It in a Statement Using Action Verbs

People often forget what metrics they have accomplished. If you are here, look back in past performance reviews, and if needed, guestimate metrics as long as you feel they are accurate.

  • Expanded geographic service delivery with railroad while growing market share by over 230%.
  • Managed and completed transaction exceeding $500,000 in gross revenue to the firm in 45-days.
  • Managed and organized maintenance, inventory and distribution of communications assets valued at $4 million+.
  • Brought in 1.1 million a year on a 5-yr project, with transition costs resulting in less than $1K.
  • Developed, implemented, reviewed and approved processes and procedures to improve efficiency and reduce waste that resulted in $7.5k savings a year, with a paper reduction of almost 85%.
  • Analyzed statistical and narrative data to measure current results and facilitates to predict future project state.
  • Maintained an operational readiness rate of over 95% for assigned vehicles and equipment
  • Consistently receive exemplary performance evaluations for teaching effectiveness from adult learners and college administration. Key coursework taught: leadership, business communications.
  • Co-Chaired the redesign of the college’s business program including the development of curriculum, mentoring program and student orientation.
  • Closed on over $19m in orders in 2017.
  • Responsible for limiting the account penetration of our competition and securing over $2m in business for the 2014/2015 and part of 2016 financial.
  • Worked on analysis for subsystem in aerospace engineering which aided in capability being added early, resulting in $1M additional funding to advance project.
  • Wrote and executed test and operational procedures of flight hardware that reduced video processing time by 12 hours.
  • Obtained 100% success rate on-time procurement delivery.

You will use these statements to align them to the needs of the jobs you desire- on your resume, cover letter, networking emails, and LinkedIn Profile.  This is how you create market fit.

 

**Defining, differentiating, and continuously developing your value you authentically want to offer...that is needed in your work is the key to your career and salary growth.** These metrics justify your pay and new job opportunities. ALL successful leaders know this.

Value/Results Statements (Use metrics wherever possible.)
Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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Step

Thank you for finishing the AUTHENTIC BRAND phase.

1) You should have your brand, personal brand concept, and differentiator (superpower) statements dialed in now and they will be the basis for networking and job searching.
2) Your value statements are your most important area to develop because these are what companies are looking for when hiring. What is your proven track record of results? If you need help with your value statements, purchase a coaching session if you did not get the coaching package. This is a very important step that will help you get noticed in the applicant pool, as well as interview and salary with confidence.