A Short Story About Branding


I had a marathon interview last week — three hours over three different sessions. I woke up like it was the first day of school having laid out my clothes the night before (Do kids still do this?). Navy blue suit, light blue shirt, navy blue tie.

Those that know me offline know that bow ties have been my thing for a little over a year. In Vegas, few people wore them, so I instantly stood out. They’re a bit more common, but not as widespread in the south. But I digress.

My LinkedIn photo is of me in a bow tie and suspenders. No reason to deceive potential employers. I’m bowed, braced and bearded up most of the time. The day before the big day, I noticed one of my would-be interviewers viewed my LinkedIn profile. No big deal.

Got to the final round of the marathon feeling fine and was asked, “Where’s your bow tie?” 

There are tons of tutorials online about proper interview attire. Many of them skewer the bow tie. In a market that favors employers over job seekers, it’s easy to get cautious and conservative when it comes to dress — hence the reason I wore a traditional neck tie (that and the fact that I’ve learned to tie a more symmetrical knot). In my rush to be conservative, I forgot about being myself.

Your brand is the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s a bow tie, glasses, or flashy socks, if there’s something in your wardrobe that you consistently get compliments on, OWN IT. It may be the difference between getting an offer or not.

I have another interview tomorrow. I think I’ll leave the neck tie in the closet.


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