When we go shopping, we tend to buy products either because of our loyalty to the brand, the value the product offers, or have some sort of sentimental connection to the product. 

Similar to products, employers seek and retain employees based on the same principles.  If you are not already doing so, I recommend that you start thinking of yourself as a product and an independent agent.  The following steps are meant to help you stand out at work. 

1 |  Brand

The first question you need to answer is "Who Are You?" and "What Are You Selling?"  Most folks consider this your elevator pitch but I'm going beyond that.  I'm incorporating how you look and how you come across (confidence). 

If you work in an office, I'm going to ask you to look around and tell me how many men in the office wear starch white or blue button down shirts? Or know people who believe they are creative and just wear black?

I'm not suggesting that people need to buy a new wardrobe but I am saying that instead of standing out at work, we naturally tend to blend in or unconsciously contradict what we believe how we are coming across.

So my first task for you is to conduct a self-inventory.  Answer these questions:

  • Do you look like the product you are selling? (e.g., if you are an accountant, do you look like one? If so, how do you look different from your peers? It's that difference that you need to exaggerate.)
  • Do you sound/appear confident? (e.g., do people listen to what you have to say?)

2 | Value

The second question you need to answer is "Why Should Someone Buy You?"  We are much more than work.  We either have families, outside activities, or interests that make us different. 

For some reason, many of us tend to separate that out our personal life from our work life.  What you do outside work is equally as important as what you do at work - so why not spotlight those aspects of yourself?  I will caveat that there are certain things that you should keep private but if it's something like cooking, running a marathon, or taking a new class - why not showcase it? 

Showing that you are more dynamic than just building reports or handing cases will help you stand out more, especially if it's amongst leadership - which leads me to...

3 | Rapport

The last question, "Why Should Someone Keep Buying You?"  Identify individuals that have power within your organization and build a relationship with those individuals.  For example, most people underestimate Administrative Assistants.  They hold a lot of power as they are the gatekeepers of the leaders they support. 

My advice is to bring Brand and Value to your relationship building.  Each organization is different but what's similar across industries is human connection.  Figuring out how to build a relationship on non-work terms will go a long way and it will help you stand out.

If you've read this and still haven't found it helpful.  I will ask - Would You Buy You? 


Bernardo Tirado, PMP

Bernardo covers leadership and technology for PsychologyToday.com.   In addition to being an industrial psychologist, he’s certified as a Six Sigma Blackbelt, Project Management Professional, Body Language Expert, and is a Train-the-Trainer in Analytical Interviewing.  

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