What Kind of Car Are You?
Are you a Porsche or a Kia? When people think of you, do they think, “Here is someone reliable and affordable?” or do they think “Here is someone who is expensive but well worth it?” Whether you are a freelancer or an employee, the way you behave conveys more about your personal brand than anything you say or write about yourself.
When you are job hunting, try to convey yourself as a luxury car. Luxury gets you a higher rate. Luxury gives you greater autonomy. Luxury gets people to take you seriously.
Whether purchasing cars or hiring people, buyers look for five key characteristics:
- For cars: Does it drive smoothly, quietly, and easily at all speeds or only at low speeds when the engine is not tested too much?
- For people: Is your work always accurate and error-free, or do you only perform well in low-stress, low-risk situations?
- For cars: Is the car dependable or does it break down frequently?
- For people: Are you there when people need you? Do you deliver results on time and as promised?
- For cars: Does it have a distinctive look or is it mistaken for every other car?
- For people: Do you offer creative ideas or do you rely on the tried and true?
- For cars: Does the car get an average of one or five stars from drivers?
- For people: Do you have glowing recommendations or is the most positive aspect of your annual reviews that you “meet expectations”?
- For cars: Can you afford the cost? Does the value match the cost?
- For people: Can the organization afford your rate? Is the value you are likely to provide commensurate with the cost?
Consider these tips to convince prospects that you are worth the extra money:
- Performance: Keep samples of your best work products. Tell stories about a time you saved the day, solved a problem, or served a client.
- Reliability: Keep your promises. Be flexible and easy to work with.
- Style: Dress professionally and appropriately. Sit up straight. Make eye contact. Annunciate. Showcase your creativity.
- Reviews: Keep a record of the compliments you get from employers or customers. At the end of projects, ask clients or bosses for short, written testimonials.
- Price: Know the going rate range for your skillset. Start salary negotiations at the “hopeful” end of that range so that you have room to give a little in the negotiation. Remember that price is a substitute for quality. If you sell yourself short on price, you may give the impression you are of lower quality.