When was the last time you asked yourself the question “what makes me stand out”?
Whether you’re looking for a new job, going for a promotion or trying to make a sale, this question is one that will tell you a lot – and you may find you don’t always like the answer. Standing out from the crowd and offering something unique is the difference between advancement and remaining static, in pretty much anything we do.
But how can you stand out, get noticed and make a real impact?
You can try and fake passion, but so can the next person. Real passion is instantly recognisable and will truly set you apart from the ‘fakers’. The way you talk, the expression in your body language and how you engage your audience are all giveaways of a real passion for your chosen field.
When people are genuinely passionate about something, they’ll happily spend a lot of time learning everything there is to know about the subject, sharing that knowledge and striving to further themselves.
Researching online profiles, not just social media but blogs, forums and articles, is a good indicator as to whether someone has a real passion for something, or whether it’s just their ‘day job’. For example, my online profiles are full of content related to online marketing, social media and photography, these are what I’m most interested in and passionate about. I not only take care of social media and write the CIPHR blog, I also run and write a photography blog, further reinforcing my online profile in these fields.
Passion will also be visible by what a person has achieved. If you’re able to demonstrate your passion through knowledge, what you’ve accomplished or what you’re currently striving for, then you’re improving your chances of rising above the competition and making a noticeable impact.
Having a personal brand has never been more important in everyday life than it is now. Some might argue that they don’t believe in developing a personal brand and therefore don’t do any work to create or maintain one. The problem for these people is that there are many more individuals who will use a personal brand as an indicator of success, influence and passion, and they might be the ones deciding your future.
Cleaning up social media profiles, interacting with influencers and sharing valued content are just some of the elements that help to create a strong personal brand. It’s also about how you conduct yourself in the ‘real world’, the way you interact and treat others, your appearance and experience. These will all be contributing factors when decisions are being made about you or your work.
One useful way you can promote your personal brand is to obtain and earn recommendations on LinkedIn. A recommendation from people that you’ve worked with, and also those that you may interact with in your own time, are very useful for both your professional and personal success.
Transparency and openness attract trust. By not hiding anything (or trying to deceive anyone) both businesses and individuals alike gain the trust and respect of others. For example, the dreaded “what are your weaknesses” question in interviews should not be feared – this question should be an opportunity for you to prove that you’re confident enough to admit that there may be areas that you’re not 100% in, and that you’re aware of them and happy to address these as part of your personal growth.
The more quickly someone can see your strengths and qualities the better. Attention spans are shorter and time is tighter than ever before, recruiters and prospective customers will not spend much time on your profiles before moving on to a competitors.
Explaining why you do what you do (and do it well!) is an effective tool for engagement and a great way to illustrate where your passion comes from. Marketing departments use the ‘explain why‘ strategy to great effect, one notable company that uses this type of marketing is Apple, as explained by Simon Sinek in the video below:
A proven track record is a traditional and effective way to stand out from the next person. This is usually directly associated with your job history, but could, and perhaps should, also be your personal accomplishments and how you’ve proven yourself as a good colleague and team player. Succeeding and progressing professionally is usually driven by the aspiration to earn more and, as a result, enjoy a richer lifestyle. Personal successes and achievements display a desire to strive for personal growth, which is something that not everyone makes time for.
Accomplishing personal and professional goals, and promoting these as part of your personal brand is a great strategy to rise above the rest and get noticed for the right reasons. Ensuring that your achievements are detailed on your CV is important. Many people list experience and previous positions, but forget to mention what they actually achieved and how this benefited those involved.
When you work with others, whether it’s new colleagues or customers, it’s you, as a person, that will be interacting with them, not your CV or online profile. By being yourself when meeting with prospective employers or customers you’ll each better understand if you’re a fit for the company culture. Being yourself and not trying to over-promote your skills or personal attributes will also help you to relax and engage in a more genuine way.
If there are elements of your personality that you know can sometimes be annoying, then you can work to improve these as part of your personal growth.
Promote your human side
Everyone is an individual, showing that you’re happy with who you are and that you’re human is a good way to project that you’re content with yourself and are a real person. Being overly ‘corporate’ and trying to persuade people that you’re professional 100% of the time is both nonsense and deceptive. Everyone has a personal life and human side, if you don’t then you’ll find it very difficult to engage and interact with colleagues or clients.
Promote the fact that you’ve got hobbies and interests outside of work, this shows that you have a passion and desire to try different things and enjoy an active and varied life.
People like people. The more personable you are, the more likely you’ll be able to forge relationships, work as a part of a team and generally interact in whatever situation you find yourself in, and others will recognise this skill.