I know you’re busy, so I’ll cut to the chase. You’ve got to define your brand and value proposition before you network.
Why? Well, why don’t new Starbucks locations put up a cardboard sign that says coffee? Why does Proctor and Gamble bother to brand their cereals rather than drop of unmarked boxes at grocery chains and ask them to sell them. Why does GM not drop of a bunch of unlabeled black cars with no literature or marketing materials at their dealers?
Because you can’t sell if you can’t tell. Your network can’t advocate for you if they don’t know what to say–and believe me, you can’t trust even the most well meaning contact to make it up on the fly.
I know, I know. Figuring out who you are and what that means to your market is time consuming, soulful work. And, if you’re not an introvert, it’s much more fun and easy to just start rubbing elbows. Unfortunately, you’re skipping day 2.
What is Day two? It comes from Brené Brown, the well-known shame researcher. She has three-day programs for organizations in which the first day is exciting and informative and the third day is filled with actionable, tangible takeaways. But Day 2 is a slog, man. You get into the hard work and the parts you don’t want to think about. So prospective corporate clients have reached out to her and asked if they could skip day 2. Hell no, you can’t skip day two! That’s where all the beautiful day-three results come from.
In your job search, defining and describing your brand and value are your day two. Then on day three (and four and five and…) you can network and interact and your friends, new and old, will understand who you are and know what to say about your value when the go out into the world as your ambassadors.
I won’t lie. Day two can kind of suck. So can running or crunches or 90 minutes of ashtanga yoga. But they can also be awesome because: oxygen, abs, the rest at the end when you know you have taken care of yourself, the feeling you get moving forward in your day and your life having checked off the box that represents the foundation of, not just your job search, but your career. And, let’s make the obvious leap here to what checking THAT box off means to your LIFE.
And, bonus! You don’t have to do day two alone. At the top of my home page you can sign up for a no-cost Resume Toolkit, including industry-specific templates. And if you really want a guide, you can contact me to learn more about how we might work together.
Meanwhile, SHINE ON!
Kimberly Robb Baker
Career Branding Coach