Article, How to MAKE IT During a Recession :

Are You Hiding Your Talents? How to MAKE IT During a Recession
by Paul Copcutt


In a conversation with a senior management client recently it was interesting to observe that even with a list of impressive and significant accomplishments they were very reluctant to talk about them, even admit them and certainly not willing to put them down on paper.


They are currently working for a large Fortune 500 company where a strong internal profile and personal brand is key to getting the next opportunity or promotion, but no-one has even shown them how to do it - authentically.


This was their dilemma. How to brag without appearing brash, arrogant or just plain big headed?


Here are 10 ways that you can market your talents without feeling unclean or sleazy!


1. Know exactly what it is you do to or for others.
You need to be able to express this in a very short, memorable sentence, so that when people have a particular issue that you can solve they immediately think of you. Most 'branders' will tell you it has to be 12 or less words, some say 7, some say even 2 or 3. Whatever it ends up being make it impactful.


2. Make it impossible someone to say no to you after they have met you.
If you have managed to do all the hard work and gained someone’s attention, make sure that you provide them with enough that they feel they cannot leave the interaction without wanting more. Might be another meeting, a request to follow up or to see a portfolio.


3. Do not shy away from what you do and love what it does for others
If you are not passionate about what it is you do, if you are embarrassed when people ask then its draining and negatively impacting on all that you do. Find something that connects with your values and delivers a difference. This is perfectly possible in a corporate environment.


4. Do not be like the cobbler and his children
Quite often I hear the phrase "Typical, its like the cobbler who's children had no shoes.....” I will admit it, even I am guilty of this sometimes. But bottom line is that we should always be walking our talk - if you are in finance be sure your personal money is in order, if you are in IT don't have an overflowing in box, if you are in marketing have a portfolio that reflects that.


5. Do more of what you are good at, leverage your talents.
What are you particularly known for, your unique ability? How can this be weaved more consistently in to your everyday actions? Become known for something that proves to be invaluable, because then you are.


6. Not everyone knows what they want, help them.
Everyone is overwhelmed today - too much e-mail, too many choices, too many requests on their time, not enough resources. Be sure of what it is you can do for people then ensure that you tell them and then demonstrate how that is going to be useful to them. If they can see the relevance the decision is made.


7. Attach the emotions, let people feel the connection.
If you only can explain your talents in very rational terms then the listener is much less likely to be engaged. Be more emotive in describing certain examples of the situation before you got involved, the challenges faced, the feelings associated with those problems. And then the feelings after you were able to help with your talents. Then people can feel connected to you, what you can do for others and be mindful of that when they hear of others in a similar bind.


8. Do not leave anything out.
All too often when we are using our unique talents we take a lot of what we are able to do for granted. After all, it just comes so naturally that it is not a strain, isn't that the same for everyone? Well no it's not. So make sure that those who do utilise your talents are fully aware of all that you bring.


9. Have an answer for the doubting Thomas'
On occasion people will suddenly find a reason to be negative, sarcastic or doubtful of what it is you claim. Be ready with an effective response.


10. Build your brand - everywhere.
Ensure that all you are doing, saying and communicating is a reflection of how you want to be known, and that information is what you want others to know. By the time they actually reach you then you have got them at Hello!


How to MAKE IT during a recession – six surefire strategies to survive in your career


Me Inc – The only person interested and in control of your career or business and knows it the best is YOU. Take the time to ensure that your personal brand is clear and consistent so that the people that need to know about you can clearly understand what it is you have to offer in terms of unique skills and strengths.


Achievements – It’s not the time to be shy, be meticulous about recording the contributions you make in terms of business impact and communicate these success’ in easy to understand terms, often.


Knowledge – Running off and doing something new can be saved for another day, leverage what you know really well and repeat – then when you are on solid ground you can look at other opportunities.


Expertise – In tough times companies are not going to take risks with the unknown or the untried, they are going to make sound business investments in people who can add value to their organization. Be sure you are on the same page as to their needs and your experience.


Internet – Never before in a recession or down market has technology had such an impact or offered such scope. Now you can connect with anyone in the world via social networks or blogging but to exist in that world you need to have a visible online brand. Take the time to build that online brand, being mindful that it needs to be in line with your off line brand.


Touch base – Networking is not just for the hard times, you have to be constantly keeping in touch with people so that you do not have the reputation for only calling on them when you need something. Make sure that everyone you connect with feels part of your network and that you spend the time to offer help, advice or information, it comes back to you many times over.



Paul Copcutt is Canada's leading personal brand consultant, combining a passion for people with a realization that strengths and specialization are the keys to success. Experiencing corporate downsizing during the last recession, Paul knows what it takes to stand out in a depressed job market. This resulted in his gathering successful experience in biotech (with no degree or science qualifications), consumer goods and executive recruitment in North America and Europe.

Recognised by Forbes as a leading personal brand strategist globally he is a much sought after speaker and media resource, interviewed by Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and regularly appears in The Globe & Mail.

He is also passionate about the next generation being informed and inspired to personally brand themselves successfully and seeks corporately sponsored opportunities to get that message in to schools, colleges and universities that will enable him to reach a million students in the next 10 years.