If you’re a job seeker, you find out quickly that the way we pair people with careers in the 21st century can best be described as nonsensical and outdated.
In many ways, it is downright strange how people gain employment.
I’ve counseled enough people to know that this painful process can ultimately be overcome once you get past the formalities and into the person-to-person connection. But how you do that is not easy.
An excellent way to build that connection takes a little emotionally aware ‘magic’ trick. That magic is making an impression that makes you memorable. You get deep into a person’s brain by going around defensive reasoning to being someone who is not easily forgotten.
What if we all engage in personal branding strategies to make that impression? That’s what branding is, right? While you certainly can, most branding strategies work best with a static good. Humans are dynamic, and you’re not just selling yourself like a boxed good on the job market.
What about crafting a story? Storytelling is also powerful emotional magic, but the thing about stories is they’re often not that unique. At the end of the day, we’re all more alike than different. This is undoubtedly true in the job market, where your economic persona plays a prominent role.
Here’s a better idea: Instead of borrowing from marketing, borrow from the design field.
Raymond Lowey, rockstar of modern industrial design, figured out long ago that people want new and novel things if they remind them of old and familiar things. We call his principle “MAYA” which stands for “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable.” It’s been used by Apple, Disney, GM, and a host of others to tap into human intuition and bring people out of their comfort zones just enough to take a risk and try something new.
If you’re a job seeker, using MAYA means you have to fit in just enough to be respected and familiar to make a connection, but then go the next step to impress the person. We do this all the time without consciously thinking of it, and when we don’t, we experience rejection or are ignored.
I updated the MAYA principle since job seekers aren’t tangible consumer products but people. For people networking with people, MAYA means:
“Most Adventurous Yet Assuring”
Adventurous means you’re taking a risk, you’re bold, you’re daring. If you’ve ever hired anyone, you like that energy, but it’s also just a little too dangerous. That’s what assuring is about: you can be trusted to keep your word, fulfill your mission, and produce the results that solve the problem the hiring manager is trying to fix. It’s a delicate balance, but you can achieve it with practice.
So if you’re having trouble being memorable, try adding this designer’s ‘magic’ to your approach. Even if they don’t hire you, you’ll know that you made an impression they won’t soon forget.