How to Gain an Instant Advantage on the Job Search

There’s no time to lose when distinguishing yourself from the competition. Try these tactics to make a connection.


In this market, you need to leave people wanting more. And you need to move quickly to provoke that response.

Here’s a tool chest of devices for capturing and holding attention. If you execute them consistently, these practices will attract both employers and networking contacts, giving you the edge you need to get noticed, get remembered and get hired!

1. Forget about being memorable — be unforgettable.

At their core, all first impressions are based on how you make others feel, in that moment. And the secret is, that kind of energy, enthusiasm, warmth and positivity isn’t just attractive — it’s infectious.

Here are ways to make sure your first impressions elevate your visibility:

  • Create conversational deficit. Upon meeting someone, try playing a game called, “Let’s See How Long I Can Go Without Talking About Myself.” Both you and your conversation partner win every time.
  • One. Extra. Second. When you smile at people, hold that smile forone additional moment. Look ‘em straight in the eyes. It’s subtle, yet powerful.
  • Insert and excavate passion. Get on the topic of passion. Enthusiasm will have no choice but to cloak the conversation. Your conversations will change people.

Remember: If you execute these practices when employers are around, it will be impossible for them to forget you. How do most people feel when they’re around you? How are you making communication a relaxing experience?

2. Start branding your own language.

The No. 1 most overlooked personal-branding hotspot is your language. Language is everything. Language increases hireability. Language changes minds. Language makes money. Language communicates presence. Language reveals brilliance. Most of all, language differentiates you.

Consider two suggestions for increasing your “language equity”:

  • Quote yourself more. If you don’t quote yourself, nobody else will. (And you can quote me on that.) Have confidence in your cranium. Even consider writing down a list of your 20 best sayings, “you-isms” or one-liners. For the No. 1 best example of branding your language on the Web, check out this way-cool quotation generator Web site
  • Publish a lot. How visible you become is a function of how far your thoughts travel. Start blogging today. Get on Twitter tomorrow. Own your material. If you’ve got writer’s block, just make a list called “101 Business Lessons Learned from My Old Job at (x).” That’ll keep you busy for a while.

Remember: It’s not about market share — it’s about mind share. Your goal is to begin owning words in people’s minds. I challenge you to become known for your language, expressions and ideas. How are you branding your own language? Have you gone public with your thoughts, ideas, words and expertise?

3. Change everything by writing everything.

Here’s an axiom of creativity: If you don’t write it down, it never happened.What’s more, writing makes you better at everything you do: Thinking. Speaking. Planning. Marketing. Selling.

So, consider this three-part exercise for turning your pen into a new position:

  • Brainstorm your “personal philosophy.” At the top of a piece of paper, write the following: “If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like?” Take some time to answer this question with five to 10 bullet points.
  • Organize your “personal philosophy.” Your answers will become the framework of your personal philosophy. Your way of treating people. Your manner of doing business. Your Theory of the Universe.
  • Share your “personal philosophy.” Eventually, once your philosophy is perfected, print it out on small laminated cards and give it to everybody. Also publish it online in an easily accessible location. People will start talking.

Remember: Writing brings clarity. Writing intensifies impact. Writing untangles threads. Writing makes interviewing easier. What did you write today? What philosophy are you known for? And is everything you know written down somewhere?

4. Make the mundane memorable.

In a commoditized world, service is the key differentiator. Making the mundane memorable is the secret to elevating your visibility. Your challenge is to create seamlessness among all marketing touch points.

Be sure to put your stamp on three underused pages of the personal-branding playbook:

  • Phone greeting. What are the very first words out of your mouth when you answer the phone? Something boring like, “Thanks for calling”?Come on. You can do better than that! Have some fun. Say something that reinforces your brand and makes callers smile.
  • Desk welcome. Ninety-nine percent of the hotels in the world greet customers with, “Next in line!” “Checking in?” or “Last name please…” What if you tried, “You finally made it!” “I’ve been waiting for you” or “Welcome to paradise!” People would talk.
  • Subject line. Amazingly, some people don’t even write anything in their e-mail subject lines. Big mistake. This is the perfect place to have some fun, deliver value and engage your recipient. Consider asking a question like, “I just wrote a blog post that features your company!” Kind of hard not to open that e-mail first.

Remember: When you execute these types of strategies, five things happen:

  1. Customers start talking.
  2. You have more fun.
  3. The brand lives and breathes in a new way.
  4. Uniqueness shines through.
  5. Loyalty increases.

How are you making the mundane memorable? How many people are calling your voicemail every week, just to hear what it says this time?

By executing these strategies, you’ll be sure to gain an instant advantage!

Let me ask ya this:

What are you known for?