In Graduate Business Career Services we have long been addressing the importance of differentiating, standing out, and making yourself desirable to prospective employers. As we continually invite professionals on campus to provide insight on hiring practices and share professional development tips, we repeatedly hear that today’s MBA and MBC students need to be educating themselves beyond what is taught in class and gaining experiences over and above what is learned in classes like Applied Business Research.

Marketing guru Seth Godin, provides additional evidence that in today’s tight job market, the job seeker who is comfortable shooting for “average” isn’t going to make the cut. As Godin frankly states:

For 80 years, you got a job, you did what you were told and you retired. But the days when people were able to get above average pay for average work are over.

If you’re the average person out there doing average work, there’s going to be someone else out there doing the exact same thing as you, but cheaper. Now that the industrial economy is over, you should forget about doing things just because it’s assigned to you, or “never mind the race to the top, you’ll be racing to the bottom.”

As one CEO of a successful Twin Cities interactive marketing company recently told me, “as a professional you need to be asking yourself ‘what can my brand bring to this company?’ Not what can this company’s brand bring to me.”

The point is make yourself different and unique. Create a brand that employers need on their team. Ask yourself “how can I stand out from the crowd?”