How To Brand Yourself as a Multipotentialite in a Way that Makes Sense to Conventional Employers
Photo courtesy of mirjoran.

How To Brand Yourself as a Multipotentialite in a Way that Makes Sense to Conventional Employers

Written by Janet Brent

Topics: Employment, Work

From the Putty mail bag:

I have a question, maybe this is something other readers are wondering as well.

How in the world can a multipotentialite create a personal brand that makes sense to more conventional employers, clients and professional contacts?

I often find that the amount of thinking, ideas and energy that I generate tends to overwhelm yet fascinate my professional contacts.

I can’t tone my intensity, however but I have a hard time creating a LinkedIn profile, elevator speech, resume, or personal brand that doesn’t come across as overwhelming and seemingly scattered.

I am having a hard time packaging and marketing myself to land a job or even become self employed. I can’t seem to explain my goals, vision, skills and knowledge in a way that is simple, focused and succinct.

Do you have any tips?

***

How do we brand ourselves as multipotentialites in a non-multi world? How do we package our round holes in square pegs? It’s enough to make even a seasoned multipotentialite scratch their head. There are (wait for it) multiple ways to approach this.

My first reaction was to think the rest of the world needs to accept who we are and screw other people (the status-quo), but that’s a bit reactionary and avoids answering the question altogether.

You wouldn’t want to change who you are to make other people like you but you want to make sense so other people know what you do, right?

Hone in on Your Ideal Client

Lets skip the question for a moment and ask something completely different, but completely related.

The first thing you should ask is whether the conventional employers, clients, and professional contacts are even people you’d like to work with. Who is your ideal client? Or what’s your dream job?

We’ve got to skirt around the original question to tackle this important first step. Think about it. Why would you want to attract everyone under the sun? You’ve got to be selective and know your target market. It’s like setting a goal, or writing down a checklist for the perfect date. You’ve got to know what you want to work towards. All the others? They don’t matter. Why? Because the only people you want to really listen up are your people.

Once you know your ideal target client, audience, or dream job (should you want to go back to employment) you’ll have a better idea on your goals and vision and how to explain it in a simple, succinct way.

Tailor your Content

You’ll want to tailor your content to your ideal client or dream job. Let them know that you’re exactly what they’re looking for. This is why the ideal client/dream vision is so important. You’ve got to know exactly who you’re talking to, or you’ll end up looking and feeling like static; not talking to anyone (except maybe crickets)!

The fact that you fascinate is already a good thing, and a sign that you’ll naturally stand out. You’ve just got to direct your energy and focus towards something your ideal client or dream job will value. What problems can you solve?

Make sure to highlight your skills in the most advantageous way. Group them in ways that make sense. In ways that show you can solve the right problems.

It’s ok to leave out content that may not apply to the right goal or outcome and take it out of your resume. You can also try creating multiple resumes that fit particular industries over the other. You wouldn’t want to dilute your ultimate goal and outcome by adding job history that isn’t relevant. Tailor each resume to your particular need and target employer. This doesn’t mean that you need to stick to experience with only one industry per resume. If other jobs in different industries use relevant skills to the particular job you’re applying for, by all means, include it!

Being multi-talented is a great advantage on its own, not a problem!

Start Brainstorming

Ready to do some real work?

  • Get a piece of paper and list down all of your jobs and the skills that you’ve utilized for each job. Do you notice any patterns and themes? Write them down. Draw a mind map if it helps.
  • Imagine what your ultimate perfect day would look like. Write it down from morning to night.
  • Imagine what your ultimate perfect life would look like. What are you doing? How are you serving the world, your community or your family? What excites you?
  • Living the dream isn’t about the American Dream anymore, it’s about living your dream.
  • You want your perfect life to merge with your skills. How do you accomplish this?

Your Overarching Theme

Emilie talks a lot about this and some past articles might be helpful and relevant.

Check out:

Your overarching theme is the umbrella of skills that you focus and combine together to form a unique business model. These can be analogous skills (like yoga, martial arts and dance have the overarching theme of movement), or complimentary skills (seemingly opposite skills that complement one another like cooking chefs and marketing ala the Word Chef).

Packaging is Everything

Hire a branding coach to help you through the process and walk you through your goals or discover your overarching theme. As a designer and brand expert (analogous skills), I can help create the visuals behind your personal brand and design a resume that stands out.

But before you go jumping through the hoops, you’ve got to realize the world is changing and the way we work is changing at a rapid pace. Creating the standard resume might not even make enough waves to have much of an impact. Check out Dave Crandall’s Anti-Resume Manifesto for a dose of inspiration. His bold execution and design was enough to get media buzz and the right (ideal) clients through the door. Once he said yes to himself and his “superpowers”, people were lining up to say “yes” to him, too!

Packaging is everything and smooshing your skills into an overarching theme to package your greatest strengths and then creating a creative execution (aka marketing campaign) might be the boost you need.

Your Turn

What would your “personal brand manifesto” say? What do you believe in? What are some ways you can make people say “Hell Yes!” to you?

janet_aboutJanet Brent is an intuitive graphic/web designer for creative, holistic and heart-based entrepreneurs. She’s interested in passionate people making positive change. Find her blogging on Purple Panda and on twitter @janetbrent.

10 Comments

  1. Judi Piggott says:

    There’s a step missing here, and it’s a marketing step: figuring out what the ‘pain point’ is for the potential client or employer that brought them to seek a human resource solution. Then the ‘ideal client’ and the appropriate pitch become more than finding the formula that matches these, like finding a wound the same size as your bandaid and slapping it on. There’s a conversation that needs to happen between the finding and the slapping on.

    Old school marketing says ‘who needs it, whether they know it or not? Find out and then go sell it to them”. There’s a ‘why do they need it’ component missing that is invaluable in getting anyone to listen to your offered solution. That’s why applying for J.O.B. jobs can be so futile for us as multipotentialites. You are applying for a job as a screwdriver when you are a fabulous Swiss Army Knife. By the time an employer has formulated a ‘position’ to be filled, the space is defined. They may see those other tools in your toolkit as detracting from expertise as a screwdriver rather than being the kind of asset that will come in very handy when the landscape shifts, as it will, and very rapidly. It’s the same kind of approach that makes it hard to fund prevention in health care, easier to justify expensing a solution to a problem we know than to prevent one and never know if there was one after all.

    Employers do not always know what they need, but assume HR experts or a little of their own experience can tell them. When we uncover the real ‘what keeps you up at night or holds you back’ questions that people are asking, and speak to those, it enables the subsequent steps. Suddenly it doesn’t matter whether we have an advanced degree in what-ever, so much. We know what they struggle with and they will listen and understand how we can be a partner in conquering the challenge.

    I learned this through many years of working with artists, and I think the idea that we are selling ourselves when we market to employers or clients comes from our own intuitive sense that the middle step is missing. The empathetic one that helps US see that we are bringing our skills to a problem someone else has, and that our creativity and variety of tools and experience is the best asset we have.

    For people like us, instead of letting the many parts we play make us feel torn apart into fragments, we can think of ourselves as many-faceted diamonds. Others need to see the facet of our surface that they can relate to, and which will help draw them into a place where they will begin to see the many other parts. Having many facets does not make us less whole. In order to help others gain access to all of us, we need to understand them more, and shift our old thinking instead of shifting shape.

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Judi,

      Great point! I totally agree. Figuring out those pain points and providing a solution in their language is key. It’s a good way to get away from focusing/worrying about your own qualifications. If you can give them what they want, that’s a much easier way in.

      Thanks for adding that!

    • Janet Brent says:

      I also agree those are crucial steps. Thanks for adding it!

      And I totally love being compared to a swiss army knife instead of a screwdriver *beams*. Swiss army knives are really badass and something that a lot of people find handy all of the time.

    • Margaux says:

      As someone who has worked in the entrepreneurial company to teach all entrepreneurial companies, I think there is a definite place for multipods. Most people have the view that any job is a “cog” job. If you don’t want to be a cog, the only other option is to work for yourself.

      Personally, I think that’s selling a lot of people short. Working with and especially for other people is not always easy—we all like to think we’re unique and special and we all hate to be treated as though we’re not.

      But believe me, there are opportunities for multipods to make significant contributions within other organisations. You just have to understand where to find those opportunities, i.e. with start-ups and other entrepreneurial businesses where people *have* to do more than one thing at a time, and often have to take on new jobs/roles as the opportunities come up.

      I’m transitioning to doing my own thing eventually, but in the meantime, I’m looking for a new “good enough” job that allows me to be a multipod. Think that’s not possible? Think there are no job descriptions like that? I disagree. I’ve seen lots of jobs that require a lot of flexibility, that ask for people with multi-dimensional skill sets, that want people to be agile and responsive to change, that expect people to have transferable strengths that aren’t defined by the tool they use (screwdriver or Swiss Army knife).

      Doing exercises like the ones Janet suggests is one way to figure out how to display what value you have to offer to any employer. I’m having a professional résumé writer write mine, but I already know it’s not going to wow the socks off the company I want to work for. So I’m planning on creating a slideshow like Dave Crandall’s (thanks, Janet!). Or something else as creative to get them to call me: perhaps sending some kind of modified board game or sport challenge. Point is, I want to get a call and sending an SEO resume and grammatically correct cover letter is not going to cut it.

      BTW, I don’t disagree that HR can often be a problem, but if you’re a multipod, you’re not interested in working with any company where the gatekeeper is HR. You want to work in a company where the people you will be working with the most will look at the résumés and cover letters and decide who they’re interested in. Those people are looking for extraordinary people who leap off the page because of their experience and interests and because they know themselves well enough to explain how they can be of value to the company. These jobs are not available through Monster.com or Indeed.com or anything like that. You have to go out and find people who’s work you love, who have the same philosophy that you have, who might be not painful to work with.

      Getting a “good enough” job that won’t suck the soul out of your multipodness means you have to purposely go networking to find other people like you, lifting rocks to see what’s available at start-ups in your area.

      Look at job boards only for inspiration and to practice interviewing. But don’t expect to get any job posted widely across the internet. That won’t happen even if you’re a specialist—unless you’re a Steve Jobs genius specialist.

  2. Jenny says:

    I say all the time that the American Dream is over as we knew it. Loved seeing you mention that as well.

    There is so much content here! Thanks for offering such great value.

    BTW – Absolutely love that you use the word “smoosh” :)

  3. Lots of really great information here. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more!

  4. Margaux says:

    Not to steal your thunder, Janet, but here’s a webinar, Build Your Own Brand OnDemand Design Tutorial:
    http://www.mydesignshop.com/build-your-own-brand-design-tutorial-ondemand

    It’s geared towards designers, but I think it could work for any creative person.

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