Why Give a Damn:

What do you have in common with Apple, Nike, Cheetos or Facebook? Read this post to learn why your personal brand is just as valuable as any other company brand.

The author of this post, Jane Miller, CEO and founder of janeknows.com, shares common myths in her upcoming book, Sleep Your Way to the Top (and other myths about business success), to set up common problems experienced when starting out in business. She then debunks those same myths using humor and practical advice based on her thirty years in the corporate world. What follows is an excerpt from the chapter called “You Have a Package, Too.”

Be remembered as ‘hirable’ NOT ‘laughable.’  Tweet This Quote

Sure you could wear a clown costume to an interview, or you could bring a bouquet of flowers and give to them to the head of Human Resources. Sure they would remember you…as they laughed and recounted the story to others in the company.

You do want them to remember you. You want them to remember you in the “we need to hire him/her for this job” kind of way.

To get to the right memorable you, let’s start thinking of you as if you were a brand. Like Apple or Nike or Cheetos or Facebook. Think about products you love that mean something to you. What sets them apart? To get grounded, let’s go to the dictionary:

Brand. (n.)
a. A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
b. A product line so identified
c. A distinctive category; a particular kind.

Operative word here: distinctive.

I want you to be viewed as distinctive. One of a kind. One of a kind that the company can’t live without. Time to pull out your WOW journal, and ask yourself these six questions:

  1. What are you great at? List everything from problem solving to getting along with people, math, writing, organizing, languages, etc…
  2. What do you get excited about? You just woke up. You start to think about the day ahead. What would make you jump out of bed and rush out the door like you just won the lottery? It’s okay to write, “winning the lottery,” and then add some real things you love to do like water-skiing, singing in the shower, traveling, kids.
  3. What is important to you? Do you want to be rich and famous? Or are you looking for a deep spiritual connection with a job? Do you want to be off by 5 pm so you can get to your favorite hot yoga class? Are you pretty sure you want routine? Or do you want varied schedule and excitement?
  4. Take off those rose-colored glasses and consider what others would say when you aren’t around.  Tweet This Quote

    What are you most proud about in your life to date? Although doing ten consecutive shots of tequila without throwing up TRULY is an accomplishment, think of the few things that didn’t give you a hangover. Did you design a piece of clothing in high school? What about the promotion at your barista job? That Chemistry award you won in college? Actually being able to speak French when you visited Montreal?

  5. What do you hate doing? I know, you want to be perfect at everything, but you know you have a short list of things that would be even less desirable than wearing a knitted sweater with cats all over it. Maybe you absolutely know you do NOT want to do math, or you get writer’s block every time you try to send an email. It could be people are just not your thing or you hate reading. Knowing what you hate will go a long way toward developing your brand.
  6. How do others view you? This is a tough one because you need to take off those rose-colored glasses and imagine what they say about you when you aren’t around. Not that nasty Kathy from marketing who never liked you anyway, just the folks you hang with on a regular basis.

This is a lot of good stuff to be able to articulate about yourself. By answering these questions, it will help you sort through consistent themes about yourself and your priorities. You can start crafting this into something that tells a story about yourself. The story of your brand.

Narrow it down to three things that really describe you. Three things that differentiate you. Three things that you could get tattooed on your butt. But go with the butterfly tattoo instead because these three things will change over time!

Sort through the consistent themes about yourself and your priorities.  Tweet This Quote

Jane Miller

Author Jane Miller

Jane Miller is CEO of ProYo Frozen Smoothie, CEO and founder of JaneKnows.com—a career advice website—and author of Sleep Your Way to the Top (and other myths about business success). She has 30 years of executive and management experience at PepsiCo, Rudi's Organic Bakery and other companies.

More by Jane Miller