Using your brand to get a job.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when building your brand statement.
Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice, the better you will get at delivery and also adaptation for new audiences. And the best place to practice is in low-stake networking situations like on an airplane or a grocery store where you also have the added task of ensuring that the party, who is not a subject expert, truly understands and recognizes your value. One of my favorite places to practice my brand statement is at a career fair. The career fair is great for networking. Most universities and many conferences hold career fairs. And even if the fair is not devoted to STEM fields, it is still a fabulous opportunity for you to get used to delivering your brand statement in such a way that causes others to take action. It encourages you to become adaptable and nimble in your delivery since each company is looking for a different set of skills. Furthermore, the career fair ecosystem fosters a system of a conversation, so it also gives you a chance to follow up and expand upon your brand as you listen to the other party talk about their needs for an employee. I have attended many, many career fairs and have found them to be extremely helpful. And here’s a tip – just like with networking at an event, start with a low-stake booth to bolster your confidence. If you have no intention of ever working for an insurance company, but want to work for Intel, start your career fair experience at the insurance booth. This is exactly what I did when I was getting ready to graduate from college. By the time I got to my goal booth, which was in fact Intel, I had given my brand statement five times to five different companies for which I had no inclination for working. My Intel delivery was smooth, to the point, clear, concise, and it automatically welcomed the other party to ask more questions, which made the engagement more enriching for both of us.
TIP: Career fairs are excellent for networking, both with potential employers and other job-seekers.
It should feel as it comes naturally: for both you and the audience, it shouldn’t sound or feel like you are delivering a prepared speech that requires cue cards. It should be a natural expression of your value and your passion for your enterprise. People really appreciate others’ excitement and enthusiasm for a subject and they take note of it. I was recently at an event where astronomers were giving lectures for a lay audience made up of donors for a certain observatory. The last speaker was a young woman who was so engaging and happy to be up there discussing her scientific pursuits and discoveries, and she did it in such a way that the audience truly understood the relevance to her and to them. As she concluded and asked if there were any questions, someone raised their hand and stated “I can see how much passion you have for this subject. Thank you for sharing it with us!” Even though she was not delivering a brand statement per se, her entire presentation was in essence her brand statement, and she articulated it so naturally and with such enthusiasm that the audience couldn’t help but become more intrigued about her research. She probably even helped the observatory raise more funds that day!
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