This is a guest article by Stephanie Hayman.
We live in a dog-eat-dog world, which is brimming with competition. In the professional world, everyone is on a quest to come out on top, and with that comes dedication, determination and having an edge on those that you are up against.
The best way to become a standout and exude that “X” factor is by utilizing yourself as a marketing tool. There’s no need to be shy; when you want to advance and prove your level of eligibility, it is imperative that you sell yourself. Being blessed as an individual with a distinct personality and skill set is the best advertising mechanism that you can use when looking for internships, jobs, promotions, etc.
Here are 5 easy ways to market yourself to the fullest extent possible, act on your strengths, and truly “own” it:
1. Know your superpower vs. your kryptonite.
If you are an ace at public speaking, make sure that your level of expertise comes across. Voluntarily make presentations; readily give your input at large meetings; show your communicative eloquence in a one-on-one setting. Make sure that your #1 strength is vocalized and known among your audience.
Conversely, it is always important to recognize and know a quality that is not considered your forte. If you are not the greatest at delegating responsibility, be up front about it. Use it as a key learning that you are in the process of working on. Honing your professional skills are just as important as perfecting them.
2. Create your own 60-second commercial.
When asked, how would you describe yourself in one minute? Sixty seconds seems like a very short period of time, except when you are tasked with speaking about your personal and professional qualities.
It is important to have an elevator pitch developed that clearly accentuates all of your positives without going overboard. Be sure to mention work experience, education, and personal qualities. In order to seem more transparent and relatable, throw in a few details that will shed light on your personality and general interests.
3. Dress the part.
A former internship supervisor once told me, “You never know who you might meet and where. Always look the part.” This is a piece of advice I’ve carried with me through college and into the corporate world. I’m not saying that you should dress to the nines and don name-branding clothing whenever you’re out and about, but when you’re at an important function with networking opportunities, be proactive and wear a suit.
First impressions are everything. Always wear a smile, be prepared to greet people with pleasantries, and have a firm handshake. When you look the part and act the part, you leave a lasting impact that makes you hard to forget.
4. Effectively utilize Social Media.
The majority of people use Social Media for casual purposes, for sharing photos and keeping in touch with friends. Make sure that your accounts (whether public or private) remain at a level of cleanliness and appropriateness. Photos of your crazy college party days will not appeal to recruiters and bosses who are [undoubtedly] scoping you out. You don’t have to become mute and post-less, but remember to be cognizant of who is looking at you—don’t kid yourself, someone always is.
At the same time, Social Media is a great avenue to truly let your personality shine and allow your network to become familiarized with the person you are. Between kitschy status updates, intelligent commentary and interesting photographs, you can really pique a person’s interest, and instantly make yourself more relatable. This allows you to emanate your own personal brand resonance.
Do not forget about LinkedIn—it is the dark horse among social platforms. This outlet allows you to list all of your accomplishments without coming across as a braggart. Make sure that the professional world is aware of your 4.0 semesters in college; your award-winning pitch; your three side-jobs.
5. Network, network, network.
Some of my teachers used to tell me that I could hold a conversation with a brick wall if it was in front of me long enough. The point is that you need to become apt to build relationships wherever you go. This will not only help you get your name out there, but will increase the ability for you to step out of your comfort zone.
In college, I used to tell my friends that I would talk to one new person everyday while riding the bus to main campus. Although I didn’t follow through with that everyday, I did do it on occasion. In class, I would always make random conversation with people. Some of my closest friends were strangers that sat next to me in lecture halls. I used to work at Starbucks, and formed some very close relationships with customers just due to small talk at the cash register. At business events, go up to other attendees and strike up a conversation. Hand them your business card—that’s why you have them. Make yourself memorable—a person that someone wants to keep in touch with to keep the dialogue going.
By employing these simple, career mechanics, you will be able to effectively show who you are through the spoken word, visual presentation, and written personality. There are a lot of factors that go into making you, you—making sure others know what you [your brand] is all about is one of the most interesting and difficult tasks in life. Shed your poignancy and remember that you are always your #1 product line. Never stop selling.
Stephanie is a businesswoman from New York who is tackling her 20s with ambition and gusto. A former spelling bee champion, Stephanie will judge you on your grammar. She is regularly mistaken for Christina Applegate, enjoys a quality cup of coffee, a hardcore gym sesh, and reading the paper cover-to-cover on Sunday mornings.
You can read more of Stephanie’s work on Elite Daily and connect with her on Instagram: @stephaniehayman