As a former recruiter, I’d like to offer a different perspective on personal branding. I have given this advice for years to anyone looking for a job, upgrading to a better position or negotiating a raise. Think of yourself as a “product”.
Viewing yourself as a product helps you dispassionately and objectively assess yourself. This is critically important if you are committed to improving and developing.
Imagine you are in an interview and someone says – Why should I “buy” (hire) you? How do you respond? I’m convinced you will respond more effectively, and convincingly, if you realize this is a glorious opportunity to SELL yourself. What you are selling is your skills, ability, education, values, personality, etc. Even more important, are your accomplishments, achievements and RESULTS you have achieved! People don’t buy features, they buy benefits and value. That’s why it’s important for you to state your product’s value and worth in terms of what the customer will receive. Think of situations where you delivered something tangible or intangible in a manner that was faster, more efficient, innovative, radically better, more appealing, less expensive…
As with any well designed and appealing product, first impressions are critical. You must think of product “packaging”. How do you present and come across? Research reveals we make initial impressions about people within 4-7 seconds. Yes, you read it correctly, “seconds”.
If someone’s reputation precedes them by word-of-mouth or via social media you’ll be evaluating them to see if your perception aligns with who they actually are in person. Notice how quickly you evaluate and place initial judgement or how you evaluate someone you meet for the first time at a client meeting, dinner party or in the seat next to you on the plane. You will make an evaluation of them within seconds – positive, neutral or negative. This is what we inherited from our prehistoric ancestors who had to determine if they stayed, fought or ran.
Benefits of thinking of yourself as a product:
- Takes the emotion out of self-evaluation.
- You can be “constructively critical” of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Reveals areas for improvement rather than making excuses or justifying your weaknesses.
- Enables you to focus on the value and significance of the results you provide as a point of differentiation.
- Motivates you to engage in continuous “product development” to stand out from the competition.
- Allows you to hear and accept feedback and input from others who care for you and are committed to help you grow and improve.
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers
If you are interested in learning more on this topic, please contact us and request a copy of Ralph’s free Ebook “You as the Product”.