What Makes You Different?

Your smile, your voice, your humor, your personality. Yes, these can make you different – and memorable. Always leverage your assets.

If you are seeking a new job or new clients for your business, you need to know what makes you different. Then you need to research what companies you want to approach, find the “angle” and engage.

Here’s the good news: You are unique. No one else has your combination of background, work experience, education, personal experiences, special qualities and talents, likes and dislikes.

This combination of your unique background and experiences
is your competitive advantage.

Do an inventory (some call it “soul-searching”) of your work history, your skills and your talents. Then, use today’s online tools to share your story with your target audience. If you’re looking for a new job, your resume is the starting point. Think of it as a marketing document that is the history of your life’s work. The format, construction and every word in your resume counts.

Less is more when marketing yourself and your services.
Be creative. Stand out.

Use fewer words to crystalize and focus your messages. Photos and video are powerful. Leverage social media and send multiple messages to your target audience. Here are some ideas that work:

- Put your LinkedIn URL on your resume.
- Make a short video, post it on YouTube, and send the link with your cover letter or business material.
- Use Twitter to share your interests, engage with like people and market your services.
- Write a blog to showcase your interests and communication skills.
- E-mail media editors and let them know you’d be a resource for future articles.
- Carefully select the photo you use and stick with it across all e-platforms.

Your approach and follow-up (your “process”) can also make you different. Here are a few tips that get response when writing e-mail:

- Use as few words as possible.
- Start with the person’s first name.
- Use bullets and white space for easy readability.
- Ask a question in the subject line.
- Use a professional, branded e-mail signature.
- If you don’t get a response, forward the same e-mail a few days later with the subject line: “Did You Receive?”

Consider everything you post or send electronically as public domain. One person can refer to another and your message could be broadcast to hundreds, even thousands. Make sure your posts and messages are professional and consistent. In the new digital age, people will do web searches on you. In an instant, anyone can Google your name. Make sure what comes up is all positive.

So, where do you start?

The old-fashioned way. Sit down and put pen to paper. Write three columns:
1. My business background (education, experience, etc.)
2. My personal life (likes and dislikes, etc.)
3. My special skills (abilities, personal style, etc.)

Now write a short paragraph (your brief bio) of no more than 300 words. This is what makes you different. This is your competitive advantage. Now package it, target market and share your unique story.

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