Over the last 45 days, articles about lil ol me have landed on the websites of 3 kick ass women in business, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.
First, Amanda Littlejohn, an award-winning PR and Branding Expert, interviewed me about journey from employee to entrepreneur on her #Package Your Genius series. When it comes to personal branding advice Amanda was one of the first people I followed on Twitter for tips and inspiration, so I was over the moon about this interview.
Then, I was invited to participate in the Lemons 2 Lemonade Twitter chat hosted by Brittany Oliver, a marketing communications expert, content creator and contributor for the Levo League, xoNecole and the Huffingpost. Lemons 2 Lemonade spotlights people “Conquering Life’s Lemons and Turning Them Into a Sweet Story.” Twitter chats are a great way to grow your audience and increase your company’s online visibility. Considering “Dealing with pressures of wanting it all” was the theme of this chat, anyone could relate to the priceless gems we shared on everything from career to relationships.
Lastly, Sakita Holley, a trailblazing PR woman, and founder of Hashtags & Stilletos, a blog, and podcast, labeled me as “A Woman To Watch” as part of her “Behind the Byline” series. Believe it or not, I also connected with Sakita through Twitter. And, she was a rockstar panelist for my Kandid Conversations event held in August 2015. #BlackGirlgMagic, complete? Check!
So here’s the thing I want you to realize: Seth Godin said it best, “You are not your resume, you are your work”. Your job title and skills are not enough to set you apart from the pack.
Here are 4 remarkable ways you can stand out in you career:
1. Share your story – A few years ago, I interviewed Cherae Robinson the founder of Rare Customs, for Black Enterprise Magazine. Chearea was fired twice before she turned her passion into purpose. Two years later she won a pitch competition in Africa, the United Nations featured her as a “Woman to Watch,” and Forbes Magazine featured her as one of “10 Emerging Women Entrepreneurs to Watch.” As you can imagine, her story went viral.
When I think back to my interviews, not one of these women asked about my advanced degree or college GPA. Nor did they want the name of the top tier consulting firm that I worked for in the past. They simply were intrigued by my story. They showed a deeper interest in learning about my setbacks and challenges and how I managed to turn my mess into a message.
My point is, everyone has something unique about their journey which separates them from the pack. Because seriously, there’s no one like you, and I mean no one.
So, tell me about yourself? Not the superficial, pre-packaged BS version that you’ve perfectly curated for your Linkedin profile.
The story that tells the world about your struggles in the workplace; The story that tells me how you’ve inspired people; How you turned a setback into success, how you bounced back from the time you got fired, or maybe the time you got pissed off at something and turned your frustration into profit. These are the types of stories that will set you apart.
Because let’s face it, anyone can refer to the Internet and regurgitate tips, advice and lessons learned in business. And damn near anyone can throw around the CEO, VP or Guru title. But your journey may be the deciding factor that helps you nail a job offer, speaking engagement or press coverage on a major TV network.
2.Digitize your superpowers – Exposure leads to opportunity. So, whether you’re a new college graduate or seasoned executive of a Fortune 500 company, everyone should be working towards building their influence across 2-3 social platforms. Follow people in your industry, share relevant content and engage followers in conversation. Live streaming is huge this year. Consider, Facebook Live, Periscope, or Snapchat. Medium is another great blog publishing platform for creating content and reaching a wider audience.
Beyond having visibility on social networking platforms, everyone should have a website– your own piece of the digital real estate. Make sure it showcases your personality and provides the world with your unique point of view on challenges in your industry and social issues that you’re passionate about.
3. Be consistent in your messaging – Please don’t tell me about your travel business one week, then next week you announce the launch of a catering company. Stay focused on executing one idea first, grow your influence and be consistent. Thankfully, there are several apps and tools to help you schedule and spread the word about who you are and what you bring to the table. In “6 Simple Ways to Get Sh*t Done” I talk about how I use theme days, workflows and a fierce no distraction policy to tackle my daily to-do list.
4.Figure out your “one-up”. It doesn’t matter if I’m creating a media kit for a client or writing an article for Black Enterprise magazine I always ask myself: “Ok Kandia, what’s your one-up? ” What added value can you bring to this project? For instance, if I’m conducting an interview with a celebrity or high profile individual who has an upcoming movie or event, I may ask them to participate in a Black Enterprise Twitter chat so that they can reach a wider audience. Additionally, I’m always looking to create life-changing connections for people I believe in. I’ll recommend someone I know for a speaking engagement or new business opportunity–often this leads to loyal followers or long-terms paying clients.
Oh and remember,