Eliminate your Zzz factor

Personal branding is about standing out while being yourself—your best self. You need to step up to stand out. Let’s investigate the ways to help you be a keeper, not a sleeper.

Professional presence

How will you tell your story? What impact will your presence make before you even say a word? How will you make sure that you’re memorable? How will you remain yourself while putting your best foot forward? How will you prepare to pursue the opportunities that align with your road map? What will you do to create a network that will open those doors to allow you to powerfully introduce yourself and stand out during an interview?
Telling your story goes beyond what you say. What you do says a lot about you as well. Remember, first impressions last. Don’t let something as small as professional attire or body language block all your roads before you’ve even said a word.

Professional presence—self-reflection profile
Let’s assess where you are right now. Choose your response. There is no right or wrong answer.Click here to download the questionnaire.

Highlight areas for improvement and focus on necessary changes.

  • Select two items that are most in need of improvement and that you believe will have the most impact on your life and opportunities.
  • Next to them, write a description of how each will be different when you have mastered them.
  • Next to that, write three practice opportunities where you will use these throughout the next month.

Seek feedback from your feedback/accountability partners (friends or a trusted mentor) as you make your changes.

  • Ask two people with whom you interact to be your feedback/accountability partners. Share your two key goal areas and what you intend to do. Ask them to give you feedback throughout the month and/or at the end of the month on what they have observed.
  • Write your 30 day results in the table.
  • How did it feel? Did you achieve it?
  • If you need to develop further, what help will you seek? From whom? By when?
  • Repeat this activity on those items you deem important.

This process can help you achieve your goals throughout your career.

Boost your interview

Successful interviewing is built on effective storytelling. You must clearly express your story so that the interviewer can experience the essence of who you are and remember your exceptional promise of value. When you tell your story, you reveal your strengths, values, passions in a way that keeps your interviewer’s interest. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to engage others and help them remember what you have told them.

Prepare for your interview

It is likely that in every interview you will be asked two kinds of questions: fact-based and behaviour-based (see examples below). It’s important to be articulate and to convey to the interviewer that you have been introspective and have adequately prepared for your conversation.
Consider how you will give winning answers to interview questions. Use the four following questions to think through and document how you’ll illustrate your story. These are the types of questions you will likely be asked.
Fact-based interview questions:

What do you know about [potential employer] and why have you chosen to interview with us?
What is a typical week for you? What do you do outside of school?

Behaviour-based interview questions:

Can you give me an example of something you have done that motivated or built enthusiasm in others?
Describe a time when your results on a project or task were not up to your professor’s or supervisor’s expectations. What happened? What action did you take?

Check each answer to see if it represents your strengths, values, passions and purpose.

Consider setting up a practice session with friends, family or mentors to give you the opportunity to get used to answering these questions and other similar questions. Ask for feedback on how well your stories give insight into who you are.

Tip 1: First impressions matter

Your interview starts when you walk in the door. Don’t let little things like attire or body language sink your ship before you even open your mouth.

Tip 2: Storytelling works

Don’t regurgitate facts that are on your resume. Use the power of personal stories to convey the essence of who you are and what’s important to you. It’s easier to be enthusiastic when you’re telling a story versus just restating facts.

Tip 3: End with an impact

Make sure you’re authentic and memorable.

Networking nitrogen

Strong brands have solid professional networks. Your ability to successfully network is critical to achieving your goals. Regardless of talent, each of us encounters situations where we’re faced with challenges that require the help and collaboration of others.
By understanding how to present yourself in a positive light, finding common ground and identifying opportunities to follow-up, you’ll have the tools to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with people who are willing to help you accelerate your ability to reach your goals.
A powerful introduction is an important tool in your arsenal when meeting people. It’s critical to making a positive impression, gaining opportunities, and taking advantage of networking opportunities when they appear.
Your introduction, or elevator pitch, together with your body language and demeanor, form the basis for a first impression. Make sure your first impression is memorable and authentic. It will go a long way in building your brand.

Think about the following points:

  • Key points to include in my elevator pitch are:
  • Some conversation starters I might use are:
  • Topics for comfortable small talk for me are:

Use your replies from the previous exercise to formulate an elevator pitch that conveys the essence of who you are. An example is included below. Notice how it includes one’s values, passions and purpose, creating a unique promise of value.
'My love of reading and my passion for working with young people has inspired me to tutor underprivileged students and seek a degree in elementary education so I can continue helping others improve their literacy and open doors to a better life.'

What value is engaged? (mark with blue)
What is driving you (your passions)? (mark with yellow)
Toward what target? (for whom) (mark with green)
What do you want to provide and why? (your purpose and impact) (mark with red)

A great elevator pitch is:

  • Brief
  • Easy to understand 
  • Compelling
  • Relevant
  • Differentiated 
  • Authentic

Look at your elevator pitch above and validate if it meets these criteria. Make adjustments as necessary.
Click here to open our Networking hints and tips.