Sell Yourself the Steve Jobs Way

The Apple CEO is a master of marketing. Use his techniques to polish your personal brand.


At your level, people expect a good presentation — including the interview.

Effective presentation skills will not only help you sell your ideas and products, but it will elevate your personal brand. Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “As you move one step up from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken and written word.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is considered one of the best presenters in the corporate world today. In my previous article on his lecturing skills and my new book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, I reveal the tactics behind his famed “reality distortion field,” outlining the exact techniques that Jobs uses to engage his audience.

Whether you’re a CEO, manager, consultant, entrepreneur, business owner, professional – or especially, a job seeker – Steve Jobs has something to teach you.

Here are five ways to sell yourself or your brand the Steve Jobs Way.

Sell dreams.

Steve Jobs doesn’t sell computers. He sells “tools to unleash your creativity.” You see, nobody cares about your job search (product ); they care about themselves, their problems and their dreams. Tell them how you can help them reach their dreams, and you’ll have won a customer (or fan) for life.

When Jobs introduced the iPod in 2001, he said that music transforms people’s lives and that in its own small way, Apple would be changing the world. Where most people saw an MP3 player, Jobs saw a better world.

How do you make the world a better place? How do you improve the lives of your customers? How will hiring you help a manager fulfill her dreams?

Don’t leave your listeners guessing.

Create Twitter-friendly headlines.

Steve Jobs has a one-sentence description — or vision — for every product he introduces.

  • What’s the MacBook Air? “It’s the world’s thinnest notebook.”
  • What’s an iPod? “It’s one thousand songs in your pocket.”

If you can’t explain yourself in 140 characters or fewer (a Twitter post), go back to the drawing board.

How would you describe the vision behind your personal brand? Long before I had Fortune 5 clients, I saw myself as “The communications coach for the world’s most admired brands.” In 61 characters, it gave my clients a reference point and gave me a vision to attain. Every product needs a vision — and so does every business professional.

Stick to the rule of three.

Most Steve Jobs presentations are divided into three parts. Neuroscientists are finding that humans think in “chunks” of three or four. Great presenters like Jobs don’t overload the brain with too many points. In media training, we coach executives to do the same: Stick to three main points they want to deliver in the course of an interview.

The same holds true for job interviews — stick to three main points that you want the recruiter to know about you and your experience.

  1. Introduce the three points early in the interview.
  2. Expand the points as the discussion unfolds.
  3. Summarize them at the end.

Strive for simplicity.

According to Steve Jobs, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Not only are Apple’s products simple, so is the way the CEO articulates the vision behind those products. For example, Steve Jobs’ presentation slides are remarkably free from clutter.

Your resume should be as well.

Strive for simplicity in oral communications and in presentation design.

Practice like crazy.

Steve Jobs makes presentations look effortless because he works at it. He spends hours and hours over many, many weeks rehearsing every segment of his keynote presentations. Jobs takes nothing for granted, and neither should you. Practice presentations out loud. Practice for job interviews as well. Have a friend sit across from you and ask you tough questions. Rehearse your responses.

Better yet, record yourself and watch it back. It might a painful exercise but well worth it!

One more thing … Do what you love.

Steve Jobs revealed the secret to career success in a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University. He said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” In this global economic crisis, many people are facing setbacks in their careers. Steve Jobs also faced setbacks but was convinced that the only thing which kept him going was the fact he had found his passion. Jobs once said his goal wasn’t to be the richest man in the cemetery ; it was going to bed at night thinking he had done something wonderful.

Do something wonderful, and you’ll know real career success and satisfaction. And that’s the kind of manager employers would die for.