You probably don’t think of yourself as a teacher, unless you actually are one. That’s too bad, since the majority of your work in whatever occupations you choose will involve teaching other people, at least if you are going to be successful.

Successful people won’t spend the next 40 years trying to fill job descriptions written by someone who never met them. If all you can do is what a boss tells you to do, the future looks dreary and impoverished. You’ll probably be competing with robots for most of that kind of work anyway, and robots are really poorly paid. They work for chips. They live on a fuel cell. Don’t you need more?

Recruiters have too many candidates who are like robots. They appear to be alike. Capable of doing the functions of a job. You might be slightly better or worse than your competition for a job, but frankly you all pretty much look the same to employers.

The candidates who rise to the top, that recruiters notice, are the people who make us feel something. It’s the candidates who surprise us, with their amalgam of skills, life story, or unrelated prior experience that at first glance might be seem outlandish – but on learning more: amazes and impresses us.

That’s the key. You need us to learn about you.

Therefore, you have to teach us about you.

Here’s what you may not know about teaching. There is no learning without feeling.

In her opinion piece for last Sunday’s New York Times, a middle school English teacher Claire Needell Hollander writes, “I like it when my students cry, when they read with solemnity and purpose.” What Hollander knows is that information presented in a way that evokes emotion is education, because it stays with the student. It becomes part of the student. It haunts them. Changes them. Motivates them.

Why? Emotion is necessary to embed information in the brain. Emotion is the tripwire to our associating new information with other relevant knowledge we have stored.

The refrain in the brain of recruiters is: “I need someone who can do this!” Their brains are full of needing and pain. They get a pile of resumes, look at a whole lot of LinkedIn profiles or take a whole lot of interviews, looking for someone who deserves the job opportunity they have.

What are they looking for? Recruiters are looking for someone who stands out from everyone else who could do the job. They are seeking someone who should get the job, because this person inspires trust, communicates a sense of willingness to take on a challenge, or telegraphs a warmth or generosity in their nature.

You know all these qualities and more as attributes of a personal brand. It is your personal brand: the true, authentic, compelling and engaging qualities about you that makes a recruiter feel you. That goes beyond scanning your resume.

You have an opportunity to help us feel your personal brand when you write your cover letter, develop your LinkedIn profile, take your interview and when you make an outreach call to a recruiter who has never met you – and especially when you get their voice mail. Learn to tell a story that communicates your personal brand and connects you with the job you want, even if you have little or no experience. Even if you appear to be an outlandish choice.

If you’d like to learn how to tell a story that teaches us about your personal brand, I have a worksheet and some examples for you. Send me an email at [email protected]. Subject line: Heroic Achievement Examples.


Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen