You Are Your Own Brand.

As many Gen-Yers know, the job search isn’t the easiest feat to accomplish. We may feel as though we are simply just pawns in an older generation’s game of chess, but what we must learn is that it is truly about how you play the game. Life is a business, and you are your own CEO. Learn to create a strategic plan for yourself and be the one to implement it. Being able to control your own fate will ultimately lead you to what you want. Here are some things to realize and ways that you can market yourself to others: Just like Victoria’s Secret sells underwear and Best Buy sells electronics, you sell something that is unique — YOU.  This includes your identity, personality, work ethic, goals, aspirations, fears and more. Think of yourself as a brand — as your own public relations, sales and marketing department all in one. Know how to sell the best version of yourself and position your image that will be favorable to all.

Identify With Something.

Almost like the above statement, Victoria’s Secret is branded as a purveyor of underwear and lingerie and that is how we identify it. By connecting yourself with an instrument, a sport, an academic activity or a job, we allow others to quickly understand us at face value before getting in-depth about who we actually are. These types of identities are what forms stereotypes, which can communicate who we are based on with what we associate. Stereotypes make us relatable and, like a perfect movie script formula, easy to follow.

Stand Out From The Crowd.

Our differences are what make us unique. Nobody wants to watch the same boring movie repeatedly and there is nothing more mundane than someone who only follows trends and fads. Eventually, those fads will die down and something else will become the new attraction. Be that attraction and be different from your friends and neighbors. Embrace the fact that you are fluent in another language and that you love to cook. Just because nobody else is doing it doesn’t mean that it isn’t relevant.

Embrace Knowledge.

One of the most beautiful discoveries is being able to understand knowledge and apply it critically in our everyday lives. As human beings, we will never know all that the world and that this life can offer, so we might as well continue trying to figure it out. Don’t stop reading and don’t stop asking questions. With these two basic elementary forms of learning, we can embrace the world around us with an open mind. Knowledge opens us up to possibilities and you will learn to realize that those possibilities that once seemed so far away are actually attainable and endless.

Don’t Be Fake.

I can’t explain how, but most people know when someone is being fake, even from a first impression. It’s almost like speaking to a person and even though they’re wide-eyed and smiley, you know they’re not listening to one damn thing you say or care about what you have to offer and instead are only thinking about their own personal benefits.

Don’t Criticize What You Can’t Understand.

Bob Dylan got it right in that times are a-changin’. Creating a vision in which you look at others with an open mind is a huge part of marketing yourself and one that will allow you to connect with an interviewer and therefore, create more of a conversation rather than a question-and-answer-type interview. By accepting differences and learning why people in the ways that they do, it will not only allow you to be more informed, but also more conversational when it comes to meeting an employer who you are trying to impress. Being open and willing to see other points of view is essential to making the most of any situation whether that is a job, friends or family and will help you see the world differently.

Take A Chance.

Risk-taking is the ultimate way that marketer achieves success. Products go through a lifecycle and that first innovation stage is important and involves risk-taking. Do you think Apple would be as big of a company as it is if the iPod was never created? Think of yourself as a new innovation waiting to be bought. Do something you never would have imagined doing and get out of your comfort zone. Once you are comfortable being uncomfortable, great things will be accomplished.

Be Your Own Brand

Failure = Success

Progress, development, growth and achievement — these are all things for which we strive. We seek short-term gains in the hope that they will continue to move us onward and upward. The successes we experience assure us that we are moving in the right direction and that we are on track. Failure, on the other hand, is precisely what we avoid.Nobody wants to fail.When we fail, it is an indication that we are not on track, that we have missed something and that we are not yet good enough.

Failing is miserable and we would never contemplate celebrating it. But, maybe we should. Reflect on some of your most memorable learning experiences and you will probably find that they came from situations of great challenge. It is through the obstacles, suffering and failures in our lives that we learn and develop most. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the potential gain to be had. We actually learn very little from succeeding, other than the realization that we can probably repeat this success in a similar future scenario.When we fail, however distressing and painful it might be, the opportunity to learn from it is far greater than any success could conceivably be. It is this learning that inspires growth and development. Failures are, of course, widely reported in the cases of celebrities.

Everyone enjoys a great underdog story of someone who rises against the odds and achieves greatness in spite of shortcomings and unfortunate circumstances.Bill Gates’ first company, Traf-O-Data, failed abysmally, while Albert Einstein was regarded as unintelligent during his childhood. Thomas Edison famously failed more than 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb, while Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first reporting job after being deemed “unfit for TV.” Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime and Steven Spielberg was rejected from the USC School of Cinematic Arts — twice! I would bet that every person has had not only to overcome obstacles and failures to achieve greatness, but that the very obstacles and failures inspired the greatness. So, why is it that we live in a culture that suppresses the idea of failure so deeply?

We place a large emphasis on winning, being right and not making mistakes. We treat failure like an unfortunate disease. We take measures to avoid its occurrence and when we do fail, we deny it, make excuses or counsel ourselves through it. We put ourselves under so much stress to avoid failure, yet paradoxically, failure could very well be the greatest developmental tool that we possess in the pursuit of greatness. This requires a shift in mindset.

Rather than viewing a stressful situation or new unknown with negativity due to the potential of slipping us up, we must recognize it as an opportunity for growth. Those periods of being overloaded with assignments, having to work with difficult individuals, embarking on a new and overwhelming projects or taking on a task that requires skills you lack are times when we grow. But, rather than approach these situations with caution, anxiety and guards held high, identify the potential for growth and enjoy the challenge to come.

If the struggle itself is not enough of an opportunity to spark development, the future mistakes and failures that will come certainly will be.Our goal is to succeed in the short term. The bigger the challenges and obstacles we face, the less likely we are to succeed and the more likely we are to grow if we fail. This is not to suggest that we should not strive for success, but rather, success should be our end goal in the bigger picture. We should view the failures we encounter along the way as meaningful contributions to this end goal.If we want to enjoy greatness, let’s begin by counting our blessings. Each and every opportunity we have allows us to fail and then to grow as a result.