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Your Own Personal Brand Part II: Unforgettable You

11/06/2012 04:26 pm ET | Updated Jan 06, 2013

Your own personal brand should make you unforgettable. Once you are lucky enough to obtain an interview, even a preliminary online chat or telephone call -- which are essentially filters to separate the dull from the intriguing -- you have to seize that brief moment to impress the interviewer with your uniqueness. When the interview kicks off with, "So, tell me a bit about yourself," don't begin with, "Well, my name is Yolanda Jefferson. After graduating from college, I..." unless you want to hear mouse clicks as the interviewer goes through his e-mails because s/he's already stopped listening to you. And oh yes -- please don't be crushed when you receive a computer-generated rejection letter a couple of days later.

There is no need to begin an interview with your name and qualifications because these things are clearly listed on your CV/resume and cover letter. Besides, everyone on earth has a name, so your possession of one does not make you particularly special unless your name is Adolf or Moon Unit. Actually, it is far more effective to mention your name in the middle or at the end of your talk when listeners are more likely to remember it. Still, people will sooner remember your skills and experience -- the tools and know-how you offer them -- than your name.

Instead, begin your interview by telling the interviewer that you're thankful for this opportunity to talk to them because as, say, a language specialist fluent in Spanish and learning Mandarin, you strongly feel you could add great value to their company's expanding global markets. A strong beginning like this will make the mouse stop clicking and eyebrows rise.

By offering something of value, and not desperately seeking something, you will automatically get people to listen to you. Think of it as an act of giving rather than taking. Do not appear desperate; desperation breeds contempt, and relationships built upon contempt are a recipe for unhappiness.

Finally, winning job applicants are those who succeed in sinking a memory hook into the soft gray membrane of their interviewers' brains. This gentle barbed hook is some special interest, talent or skill beyond your specific technical qualifications or experience that makes you unique and intriguing for companies searching for people who can add value. Perhaps you've practiced tai chi for years or are a passionate international cook; you're the captain of your local soccer team or you volunteer to help the homeless once a week. While people will quickly forget that your name was Jane, Hesamedin or Svetlana, they will never forget that you love the sport of ancient Japanese archery.

Thus, effective personal brands are those which highlight and promote your special skills and know-how while placing something uniquely personal inside the crowded brains of managers so that they remember you as someone worth inviting back for a second interview or, ideally, worthy of a job offer. In other words, the very best brand is you, charming, unforgettable you.

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