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5 self-branding tips to get you hired

Head Games Think — and look — positive. Attractive people get hired and promoted more readily and earn more money, according to Harvard and Wesleyan economists, because they're seen as more self-confident. Brand strategist Catherine Kaputa says we can "grow" confidence by understanding it comes from self-acceptance. "Accepting yourself is the most important ingredient in the self-confidence formula."

Smart Talk  It's old-school, but it works: Practice your "elevator speech," a short verbal pitch that conveys who you are, what you do best, and what you're looking for. Keep it around one minute, Kaputa says. "Strong, personal, authentic stories help give your brand credibility and set you apart from the competition."

From the Heart  Brand strategist William Arruda draws on Socrates when he counsels clients to know thyself — what you're passionate about and what your intuition tells you to pursue. While you're at it, know what others think about thyself, too: "Until your brand is validated by others, it doesn't have the same power, even if we already know such things about ourselves."

It's in the Cards  Got a stack of business cards in your pocket? Don't forget this tried-and-true low-tech branding tool. Hand them out after your "elevator speech," and after any other networking interactions, to leverage those encounters. Get them made at a local print shop, or online at www.vistaprint.com or www.printingforless.com.

What Not to Wear  You're not really wearing those shoes to the interview, are you? What about that circa-1983 power suit? Invest in a smart, up-to-date set of professionally appropriate business clothes. If you need help, hire an image consultant for a "wardrobe audit." And remember what your mother told you: Stand up straight! "Command the space you're in," says Kaputa.

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