Social Media and Personal Branding: Getting to “No” Faster?

I’m all for personal branding. I’m a big believer in social and digital media. And I’ve been a technology geek since the first IBM PCjr – so I love that technology-based influence can help us meet many more people, much faster.

Despite all the hype, however, let’s be clear: if you fail to provide that “one good reason” to hire you over everyone else, all the personal branding, social media and influence is NOT going to help; you are simply peddling your crappy, clone-like value proposition quicker to more people.

Chances are you’re not getting a job this way – you’re just getting to “no” faster.

Branding and digital communication is nothing more than a delivery method – a fairly new and easy way to pitch your “attention to detail”, “team player” attitude, how you are an “effective leader and motivator” – and every other cliché seen by every recruiter until they fall asleep from boredom.

From a recruiter’s perspective: if you’re delivering something I’m not interested in – regardless of how it got to me – you are wasting your time, and mine; the chance of you getting hired is nil.

So, what does get you hired?

The answer is simple: your ability to articulate the one good reason why I should hire you – what makes you different in a sea of applicants who – just like you – could easily do the job.

Fact is: most job seekers still haven’t figured out the most important aspect of the job search: they don’t know what they’re selling. Yet, they get on Twitter, build a personal landing page, start blogging and apply for dozens of jobs – all before they understand what specifically makes them employable.

Think of it this way…

You own a brand new restaurant in a highly competitive area of town; choices for diners are endless within just a few blocks of your front door. How will you attract the attention of would-be customers?

  • Could you provide examples of the exceptional service you provide, including going out of your way to build customers for life?
  • Would you talk about your amazing skill, pointing to real/quantifiable results and achievements?
  • Could you sell the warm and cozy atmosphere and the consistence of the comfort food offered?
  • All else being equal, could you focus on price, under-cutting your competition?

During your job search, you have the same decision to make about how you will attract recruiters to what you are “selling”. What is your niche? What makes you different? How will you fix their problem? Why are you the one person that should go to the top of their “I must interview this person!” list?

Before you send out another bland resume, tweet or blog… sit down and take an objective look at your differentiator – the “one thing” that will get you hired. If that reason isn’t “different” enough from your job seeking competition, find another… then another… then another.

Soon, you’ll find your unique value proposition – the one good reason I should hire you. Then, and only then, will you be able to take full advantage of social media, branding and influence – and get to “yes” faster!


About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, CEO and Founder of YouTern Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter: @YouTernMark.

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