Know What Differentiates You

With the ever-changing dynamics of the business world and the evolution of the Internet, social networking, Google, LinkedIn, blogging, etc… executives today are finding it more and more difficult to effectively position themselves in the marketplace. How do you go about setting yourself apart from the crowd and really standing out, and where do you start?

brand-signThe obvious place to start is to establish a unique personal brand or value proposition. “Personal” is the key word here. These are traits that are unique to an individual and their specific experiences — and when you really think about it — rarely are any two alike.

Search for yourself on the Internet. Whether you know it or not yet, everyone has a perception of you and your perceived value in the marketplace — and you have the ability to take control of it. Consistency equals credibility, so building a brand personae that is consistent across all platforms, is critical to your career, and it’s essential to identify ways to get noticed in and out of the office.

If someone were to ask you what your personal brand was, what would you say? Are you excited about it? Does it effectively capture your character, experiences and aspirations?

One critical area that is overlooked in many executive personal brands that I see today in my role as a branding expert at ExecuNet is the absence of a forward-thinking message. What I mean by forward-thinking is not just about what you have done, but what you would ideally like to be doing next steps. We have all done a number of great things through the years with amazing results. We are also very attached to our past because each of those great accomplishments helped us get to where we are today… and we remember every last detail of the journey.

Herein lies the problem — trying to figure out how much detail to include, or leave off, in order to get our brand message across in the most poignant way.

This distillation process can be quite cumbersome and downright overwhelming and is the main reason a great number of executives have engaged industry professionals to aid in the process. An objective ear, such as a close peer, trusted advisor or trained career coach, can help executives navigate through good, great and compelling… and even within that, to determine how much of the compelling is relevant to next steps.

And the not-so-obvious. We might not all be going through a transition; however, we would be greatly remiss if we did not factor in the dynamics of the marketplace. The job market and industry trends might help you determine what area of your expertise to leverage to gain the most traction. How much weight should be placed on personal attributes (inherent traits versus those acquired throughout the journey) without detracting focus? These are just some of the areas to be taken into consideration, but all equally as important in creating a unique presence.

There is tremendous value in personal branding and being able to articulately communicate your value and what differentiates you from others in your field — and over time, this may actually end up being your greatest asset.

Looking for a new job? Guess what: your competition’s qualifications look pretty similar to yours. But they certainly can’t tell your story! Wait a second … can you??

Sam Mehar

Sam Mehar

Sam Mehar is ExecuNet's Managing Director of Branding.

Sam’s expertise is Executive Branding and Strategy. She has numerous success stories of partnering with clients and organizations across a wide spectrum of functional areas and industries to reveal the fundamental essence of their brand and core value proposition. Her approach is highly collaborative – enabling clients to discover their own unique marketplace value — a critical element in the development process. An extensive consulting background puts Sam at ease dealing with all functions and levels and provides an advantage in how she helps executives distill down the most meaningful details from their professional past — to position them in the most authentic and compelling way. She also works with executives to ensure brand consistency across all contact channels. Sam can be reached through ExecuNet's Career Services Group.

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