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Develop the tools to sell yourself and articulate your value to earn the job or customers: 5 Keys to Selling Your SELF.
29 May 2015

How to stand out? 5 keys to selling yourself

This week I had the privilege of something pretty special. I was invited to participate as an advisor for the St. Jude Postdoctoral Fellows professional development day program hosted at my Alma Mater, Christian Brothers University.

We are so fortunate to have St. Jude Children’s Research hospital right here in our own backyard funding and supporting the talent and research that will at one point inevitably touch each one of us. Discoveries from St. Jude help save the lives of children everywhere and in case you didn’t know, no child is ever turned away for their family’s inability to pay.

If that’s not enough to endear you to St. Jude, just meet the people doing the research. I met the most amazing, smart and passionate PhD’s studying things that just blew my mind like how bacteria process metals in our bodies, pathogens and public heath crisis, pediatric brain tumors and infectious diseases.

I asked these brilliant scientists what is the next step for them and most all said they will pursue academic positions, would like to run their own research labs in pharmacology and several have plans for businesses down the road. My take away from them was that these positions are all incredibly competitive and highly desirable, which means they are going to have to sell their value to someone to attain these positions.

Part of their difficulty in selling their value to potential employers is going to be articulating their value without an 8 minute explanation of “what they do.” {I didn’t time them but some of their introductions felt like 8 minutes of stuff I barely grasped.} Being so deeply immersed in such specific and niche work makes it difficult to relate to people who don’t have the context to understand what you’re saying, even potential employers.

My objective with these scientists, as with all our clients, is to help them develop the tools to sell themselves – to help them articulate their value and attain those coveted positions.

5 Keys to Selling Your SELF:

Develop the tools to sell yourself and articulate your value to earn the job or customers: 5 Keys to Selling Your SELF.

  1. Define your Point of View. Understanding “What” you do is just as important as “Why” you do it. When someone understand the “Why” they grasp what makes you tick, they get a glimpse of your character, your motivation and mission. Mo matter how complex or simple your work is, your point of view is what makes YOU relatable to someone. What makes you unique? How did you form your expertise? What experiences lead you to pursue this work? Why is your work important to you and others?
  2. Create a Dynamic and Authentic Digital Personality. The first place anyone will usually encounter you is online. And if it’s not the first, you can be that it will be the second place people look to find out more about you. If you don’t show up online or what people find doesn’t represent you, your voice, your work, your talent and your point of view, you are already two steps behind. You can’t avoid an online presence so have some control and input in to what people find when they look for you there. Can they see your eyes, your face, your professionalism? Can they understand what work you pursue, what innovation or results you create? Do they find your voice online and get an understanding of what it’s like to work with you?
  3. Identify your Target Audience. Just as in selling a product or service, to sell yourself into employment, you need to define and find the organizations and people with whom you want to work. Putting a resume on a job site or applying for positions online is waiting to get picked or be discovered. Be your own head hunter and find the people who can influence your success. WHO are they {titles, companies, organizations}, WHERE are they – online and offline – forming opinions, asking for resources, researching and discussing. WHY do they need you?
  4. Engage with Influencers and your Target Audience. At last count, 80% of the world’s online population is accessible via a social network. The people you want to hire you – they are online somewhere for some reason. The mistake most people make is finding someone who can help them or hire them and then diving right in, asking for a job or introduction. The same rules of etiquette apply online as offline. Search forums and networks for your potential employers or influencers that can help get you to the right people and connect with them, engage them with insights or knowledge that would be valuable to them. Share your point of view. Help them understand what you bring to the table and why you are valuable by being of value to them.
  5. Understand and Articulate your Value in their Currency. This last piece of advice takes some research and insight into your potential employer. Value is subjective and what you find valuable might not be the same as your neighbor. Currency in these terms is the economic or cultural value used to exchange for resources or talent.  To sell yourself, you are helping potential employers understand how you are valuable in accomplishing their objectives. For a pharmaceutical company, innovation may what they prize most. In academia, a university may value their program and professors being published in the most prestigious journals. A CEO has a different value currency than a Research Director. Know your audience, know what success means to them and relate your value to their terms.

Whether you’re a PhD Fellow, an accountant or a photographer, you must sell yourself to gain trust and relate your value to achieve your goals as well as your employer or customer. There is too much competition and too much noise to be passive when it comes to gaining employment. Don’t wait to be picked or discovered, you must be the architect of your own financial economy.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

—sks

PS—Our experience is that it is really difficult to articulate your value. People can tell you what they do, where they work but WHY you are valuable . . . that stumps most people. If you’re looking for help articulating your value to sell yourself to an employer or to sell your product or services, we can help you knock it out of the park and get the job, earn higher salaries or land the clients. Just contact us to find out how.

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