Leveraging your Signature Talents

Identifying your signature talents is crucial for two reasons. First, these talents help define who you are professionally, boost your credibility, confidence, and uniqueness. They are the value you provide to your company or client. Second, if you identify your signature talents you can leverage them when you want to transition into a new role, company or industry.

 

Signature talents are more than specialized skills. They are advanced skills that, when combined with your experiences, knowledge and talents, are as unique and distinctive as your own signature.

 

For example, after spending a few years out in the field, many sales people develop their own unique style of selling. It’s a style that is difficult to teach to others. They may use common selling strategies and tactics, but combined with their personality, experiences, and knowledge they have created their own unique signature talent of selling.

 

Another example is that when I graduated college, I love writing and knew I either wanted to be a television news writer or write radio and TV commercials. After several years in radio, television, and advertising, I honed my writing skills and developed my own writing style. Writing is one of my signature talents. My employers can always hire someone else, but that person wouldn’t have my same signature style.

 

So, what are your signature talents? In which skills or areas of expertise do you stand out from your colleagues or peers?

What does your personal style say about your personal brand?

Your Personal Brand includes your personal style and the way you present yourself to others. It includes the way you speak, your dialect and your language. It’s the way you dress, your jewelry, hairstyle and shoes.

 

I learned a lesson about personal branding early in my career when I had just graduated college and interviewed for a copywriter position at a large Phoenix advertising agency. From 100 applicants I made it down to the final two. The other finalist had four years of ad agency experience as a copywriter. My only experience was a six-month college internship at Ping Golf Clubs. But, I had a portfolio of creative ideas, a confident attitude and new black suit that screamed, “I’m a professional with style!”

 

Although I wasn’t surprised they chose to hire the other candidate, I was surprised to learn the reason. The partner who interviewed me said it was a close call between the other candidate and me, but he shared with me how unimpressed he was by my rather “cheap” portfolio case. Even though it was filled with fresh and creative ideas, my new, plastic, $14.99 portfolio case broadcasted to the world that I placed little value on my work.

 

That was a big lesson I learned and one that I’ve never forgotten. The way you present yourself and act around others shapes your personal brand and the way others perceive you.
I invite you to share your own experiences where someone’s personal brand influenced your (good or bad).

Benefits of a Powerful Personal Brand

Building a powerful personal brand takes time, discipline and commitment. But the benefits are enormous and they include:

  • Being in high demand with your clients, senior managers and potential employers.
  • More opportunities and more control over your career.
  • Achieving a career rich in purpose, meaning and immense personal satisfaction.

Personal brands are as unique as individuals themselves. The key to having a career that provides you with meaning and purpose starts with understanding your own unique personal brand and what it is communicating to others.

Share examples of how you have built your personal brand by leaving a comment below.

Everyone Has a Personal Brand

Everyone has a personal brand. Everyone. And the power, or strength of one’s personal brand is determined by their consumers, fans, clients or employer. LeBron James doesn’t determine the strength of his own brand – his fans and customers do. Oprah doesn’t determine the strength of her personal brand – her viewers, listeners and magazine subscribers do.

Now, think about yourself and your own career. Do you know what value you provide to your clients or company? Do you know how to deliver that value in such a way that it creates an emotional connection with your employer or clients and they feel loyal to you? Do you now the strength of your personal brand? By doing some introspection and self discovery you will be able to answer these questions as well as create a career that give you meaning and personal satisfaction.

The Value of a Brand

The art of branding is so critical to success that companies spend millions, even billions of dollars on it. The reason for doing this is simple: branding drives sales. Having a powerful and unique image can translate into billions of sales dollars. So much money is spent on developing a strong and sustainable brand, there is a formula for determining the value of a brand. Every year, Business Week publishes its Top 100 Global Brands showing estimated values in terms of dollars. The list below shows the top 10 brands for 2009.

2009 Rank Company Brand Value in $ (Millions)
1 Coca-Cola 68,734
2 IBM 60,211
3 Microsoft 56,647
4 GE 47,777
5 Nokia 34,864
6 McDonald’s 32,275
7 Google 31,980
8 Toyota 31,330
9 Intel 30,636
10 Disney 28,447

Now, let me ask you, if you can form an emotional connection to a car or a soft drink, then do you think you can form an emotional connection to a person? Of course you can!

5 Must-Have Tools for your Career Emergency First Aid Kit

Just like with any emergency situation it’s critical to have a plan, an exit strategy, and a toolkit with all the essentials to help you land back on your feet. So to help you bounce back quickly from any career setback, here are five essentials to have in your “career emergency toolkit”.

  1. A professionally critiqued resume. Many times your resume is the “first impression” a hiring manager has of you, so it needs to be spectacular! In order to get noticed in this tough job market, your resume must be in the top 2-percent of all submitted resumes. Does your resume measure up?
  2. An “Interview Prep Kit” including a polished portfolio, briefcase and power suit. Make sure you’re prepared for an interview, by having a hefty sample of your best work available including reports, strategic plans, proposals, campaigns or presentations that you created. This helps validate your successes and what you can do for the next company that hires you.
  3. List of high powered references. Start identifying those who could give you a strong professional recommendation. Go after those managers and executives with the highest title, biggest influence, and work for the most prestigious companies.
  4. A Deep and Wide Professional Network. Don’t wait to start networking – do it now. Send your contacts links to reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think may interest them. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Career influencers (those who could hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you) are drawn to those who are resourceful and well connected.
  5. Your Plan “B”. What is your back-up plan if you lost your job right now? Could you freelance or start consulting? Would you prefer to work part-time while getting some specialized training or advanced education to help you come back better and stronger? Create a contingency plan to help you land back on your feet quickly should your career take an unexpected turn.

The key is to always be prepared for the worst – always. By having the right tools and plans in your Career Emergency First Aid Kit, you’ll be better equipped to manage through any career setback, as well as come back faster and stronger!