How Young Professionals Can Make Themselves Stand Out

November 6, 2017

Show Notes

Today we talk with Larry D West III the co-founder of Elite Young Professional. Some of the things we talk about: 

  • Personal branding--your most powerful career tool.
  • ABL--Always be learning--dedicated to perfecting your craft and being the best possible version of you
  • Be entrepreneurial--intrepreneur for those in corporate spaces
  • Thought leadership--content creation is your best friend
  • Network and how to leverage them--be the plug always come from contribution


Christian: [00:00:14] Hey, how's it going? Today we're going to talk about how young

professionals can make themselves stand out in a crowded field. We're going to talk about

a little bit of personal branding, networking, thought leadership, and today we have a

cohost with us, Larry D. West the Third, co-founder of Elite Young Professionals.


Larry: [00:00:33] Oh man. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be on the podcast.

Christian: [00:00:36] It's awesome. Yeah. So just for those people who don't know what

you do and what exactly is Elite Young Professional?

Larry: [00:00:44] Yes. So you know, it started about somewhere in the middle of 2015

going into 2016. It started as a program that I used to put on. I used to travel around to

different universities and speak in front of the college students and talk about what it really

takes to build your career and to stand out. And so it started as just a simple boilerplate

talk speech that I used to give, and then from there, it's actually transformed into its own

media company in a sense. So what we do now is we create a lot of content around career

and lifestyle for young professionals and how do you start to leverage those things to really

be successful in life. So we put a lot of things out there. We've got the podcast that's out

there. We've got blog posts out there. We're doing a lot on the social media side. So it's all

about creating value, adding value, and putting content out there for young professionals.

Christian: [00:01:33] Cool. And speaking of that that's actually some of the things that

we're going to talk about on how young professionals can make themselves stand out, and

the number one thing here is, you know, personal branding.

Larry: [00:01:45] Yeah. That's huge. I always say that there are three parts to a personal

brand, and it should answer these three questions. That's who you are, what you do, and

why I should do business with you, if you're an entrepreneur, but if you're on the corporate

side, who you are, what you do, and why I should hire you. And I think a lot of times what

young professionals don't really get especially when they're going through school is that

they don't get that the personal brand is the most essential part of your career or your most

successful career tool I should say because you think about it. When you're in a college

setting, you've got a class of a couple thousand people. A couple thousand people that are

in the same major. Couple thousand people vying for the same jobs and position you're

vying for, and outside of these things like the typical things, extracurriculars and things like

that, how is it that you really stand out? Everyone has internships nowadays, right?

Everyone has a 3.0, 3.5-grade point average and different things like that. So the key is to

really build a solid personal brand that can answer those three questions, and you

leverage that to start building a career. And that's the most essential part of the brand.

Aaron: [00:02:49] So we don't want to go super in-depth in here, but just give us some

surface level stuff of what may be some good examples of personal branding or some

good tactics or some things that they can really take away for the personal branding to

kind of start on today or maybe some resource to go check out for personal branding.

Larry: [00:03:06] Gosh, yeah. No, absolutely. So a few things. So you have what are

called an online brand and offline brand. Those are the two places where you really start.

Your online brand because we're in a time where social media and we're in the Internet of

things kind of a timeframe, being present online is absolutely going to be key. So few

places you want to be. LinkedIn is absolutely going to be one especially if you're looking to

build a professional side to your career. Facebook remains the dominant social site

because so many people are on there, and we have this battle between being public and

private, right? And so you want to make sure that everything you want your potential

employer or potential customers to see and you want them to know about you is available

in public for them to see and consume. No one wants to go through the hassle to try to

figure out who you are and what you do. So make sure it's public and out there, but that's

the online presence and being consistent with that. On the offline side of it, where are you?

How are you showing up? Are you inside of networking groups? Are you doing things in

the community? How are you putting yourself out there on the offline side and does that

match and is it consistent with the online side? That's really where you start the foundation

for building a brand and presence.

Aaron: [00:04:17] I guess who's a good example of personal branding? Or you know,

maybe they just need to check out Larry and just follow some of your stuff and just check

that out for the personal brand, but who do you look up to for yourself, Larry?

Larry: [00:04:28] So there is this awesome guy that I know, a 27-year- old from Milwaukee.

His name is Larry D. West the Third coincidentally, right? So that's where you start. No,

but seriously some really awesome people to start to look at in terms of leveraging and

building your personal brand especially on the online side, and entrepreneurs get excited

about this guy, there's Gary V, that's absolutely awesome because-

Christian: [00:04:49] The beast, yeah.

Larry: [00:04:50] And he's authentic, and that's another part of the personal brand is that

he bleeds through on all sides. You see his authentic side when he's doing the simple

videos talking to folks out in the street, and that's the same as his put-together edited

videos where he's actually presenting in front of an audience. So that's a key guy to really

look at. Another person to look at there's a lady, her name is Lindsey Pollak. She does a

lot of writing on millennials, so to speak, but she does an awesome, phenomenal job really

teaching young professionals, millennials so to speak, about how to build and leverage a

personal brand. Two key people to check out.

Aaron: [00:05:27] That's really good knowledge, and we heard you talk a little bit about

your offline side which is like networking. How can somebody who's, you know, just getting

out of high school or maybe just going out of college- We think of networking for business

professionals, and that makes sense for an entrepreneur who's already out there. But

where do they start with networking? How do they leverage that?

Larry: [00:05:49] Perfect. So good place to start with networking especially if you're a

student that's whether high school or college your professors or your teachers around you

because more often than not they've been around for a while and they have connections

with other people in other places. Here's some of the things they have to know about this,

and this is true both on the entrepreneurial and on the corporate side is that one, when you

start to get into the networking side of things, it's easy to say OK, you introduce me to

someone. I going to ask them for an internship or ask them for an opportunity because I'm

an awesome person, but what it really comes down to is what do you have to give that

person? What kind of contribution are you making? I call it being a plug really, and it's

about always coming from contribution. Prime example, if I'm pursuing an internship with

an individual you introduce me to, right? I'm going to come from a standpoint of

understanding who that person is, what their paying point is, and how I can actually help

them solve that. That's going to be a lot different from sending in a boilerplate resume. A

lot different from saying hey, Mr. Such-and- Such introduced me to you. Can I have an

internship? If I can come in and say hey, my name is Larry West. I noticed that you have a

business in this area. Have you thought about pursuing this kind of a market because I

think it will really help you grow your revenue? You know, different things like that, and

then drop your contact information. That resonates a lot more.

Aaron: [00:07:05] That's out of the box thinking right there. I'll tell you right now.

Larry: [00:07:07] Absolutely. And again, it's about coming from contribution. Think of

different ways that you can contribute to that person instead of actually taking from them,

and that's when you start to build the network because people remember that. Then they

start to contribute to you. It starts to get reciprocated over time. Being the plug.

Christian: [00:07:22] Not too long ago, we recently did a sort of a PDF white document,

white paper for the Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce, and in there, I mean, that was

one of the main things that a lot of chamber members were advocating to is, you know, go

and help out other people. When you start networking, you know, be the person who's

connecting other people. Be a resource for other people, and you know, that will come

back to.

Larry: [00:07:50] Yes, a lot of- especially on the younger side, we say, well, we don't have

enough experience. What do I have to give? What do I have to contribute? And the reality

is you have a lot to give. This is kind of veering off topic here, but this is the part where you

start to looking intrinsically at yourself and say what value you bring to the table. Why it is

that someone should actually hire you. What kind of things can you do that no one else

can do? And that's what you present. As simple as that.

Aaron: [00:08:17] I think one thing that makes somebody an elite young professional, just

kind of going off to play with your names, and we didn't talk about the backstory of, you

know, a different company that you used to have which is talking about professionalism

and leadership. But one point we wanted to hit here and you can kind of talk on is thought

leadership, and that can be kind of a, not a convoluted word, but it can be a mouthful. So

can you break down what thought leadership is and what that really means for somebody

who is a young professional?

Larry: [00:08:46] Absolutely. So we can look at the key part of the whole word which is

leadership, and leadership when you boil it down it's about influence. And so when we talk

about thought leadership, it's about how your thoughts create influence, and that really

comes down to cultivating content. Creating content around your industry, around your

field, around your niche, and it doesn't matter where you are inside of your career. You can

always begin to create content. I mean, you think about some current college students

right now that are majoring in journalism. There's no reason they can't have their own blog

right now. There's no reason they can't be putting out videos or covering their own

athletics at their school. We have access to so much technology and information that

there's no reason you actually have to wait, and so it doesn't matter what industry it is.

Figure out what are the key points inside of your industry. What are the things that people

are typically covering, and how can you contribute to their field? And a lot of times it's just

regurgitating what's already there, just putting your own spin on it. You don't have to

recreate the wheel or reinvent the wheel.

Aaron: [00:09:44] I was going to say we could do- This exact same podcast as being

recorded over in Milwaukee right now, but we have our own spin and we stole Larry. So I

mean, our show's going to be better, but.

Larry: [00:09:54] Just like that.

Larry: [00:09:55] Absolutely. Absolutely. Gary V says the exact same things. He just says

it louder and cusses some, and it works for him.

Christian: [00:10:01] Yeah. I think this whole content creation is something that we did

pretty well at the beginning, and just like Larry just said, I was very sort of shy or on the

side of, you know, other people are doing this right now. Other people are talking about

these things that, you know, we're talking about. Right when we started doing Tip for Tip or

when we started, you know-

Aaron: [00:10:20] Brain10.

Christian: [00:10:21] Yeah, Brain10 which is another show that we used to have.

Larry: [00:10:24] I remember hearing that on the first episode. The pilot you all shot.

Christian: [00:10:28] Yeah. So yeah, I was very like no, we don't need to do this. Like you

know, there's a lot of people already doing that, but I feel like, you know, 100 percent this

is something necessary that, you know, young people who are starting out, they need to

do it.

Aaron: [00:10:40] And I would even say that our company if it would be still around. I don't

know if it would still be around if we weren't creating the content that we had because

Brain10 had like almost 150 episodes or something, and Tip for Tip is like 75 episodes. So

I mean, there's a lot of content that I don't know if we would still be in business or not

without that.

Christian: [00:11:01] Now I want to backtrack here a little bit, and I want to ask you about

this. You said earlier that you need to be authentic. That need to be honest on social

media. We know that Gary does it very well. Now he does cuss a lot. We're not going to

cuss on the show, but this is something that I think Aaron, I, and Franklin have talked

about before. Do you think that helps? Or do you think that's, you know, something that

you shouldn't do? Or do you think that's going too extreme?

Larry: [00:11:29] Two schools of thought on that. One, if that's who you truly are and that's

the you that you want to display out there, that's what you want to be known for, then do it.

That should be you. I say that in the same breath you have to be cognizant of your

audience, right? So still let your authenticity bleed through, but if you're offending your

audience, if you're trying to be more on the professional level and you're going to offend

your audience by cursing or whatever it is that you want to do, then you may want to dial it

back a little bit.

Aaron: [00:11:59] Right. Like a graffiti artist you kind of- I mean that sounds bad, but you

would kind of expect them to maybe have a little bit more rash language than somebody

who's, you know, selling computer equipment to the hospital or something.

Larry: [00:12:12] Yeah.

Christian: [00:12:14] All right. So out of these last two points that we have here which one

do you want to talk about?

Larry: [00:12:19] Let's go entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

Christian: [00:12:23] Okay.

Larry: [00:12:24] So that simple. Doesn't matter again if you're starting your own business

or if you're building your corporate career. You want to be entrepreneurial in every sense

of the word, and so that basically means taking ownership over what it is you're doing and

building it and being dedicated to it and putting sweat equity into it and really cultivating

something that's special. Being elite, right? And the intrapreneurship side really comes

from the corporate side because some people think if you have a nine to five you can't be

an entrepreneur. So you're not a traditional entrepreneur because you don't own a

business, but you can still create different vertical lines within your current company. Think

of another product, another service offering. How do you change current procedures that

are going on? And that's what it's about in terms of being a change agent and being an

entrepreneur. Adding value to either your clientele or your current company that you're

with, and that's huge in terms of building a brand. That's what you can be known for.

Aaron: [00:13:17] Awesome. So any last thoughts, Larry? Where can people find out more

about you? I know there's going to be a ton of questions, especially those young

professionals trying to make their way through this.

Larry: [00:13:27] Yeah, absolutely. So I'm on all social media channels, and the branding

is consistent across the board. Larry D. West the Third. Larry D. West the Third.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All those. Elite Young Professional is the company, and

so we're on again all the social media channels. That's Elite Young Professional.

Aaron: [00:13:45] Awesome. And if you go over and follow Larry, just do us a favor and let

him know that you came over from the podcast so we can just tell him he owes us


Larry: [00:13:53] Boom. Just like that.

Aaron: [00:13:54] All right. Thank you guys again for tuning in. We really appreciate it.

You could do us a big favor and click the subscribe button, and then in the bottom right

hand corner, there's those three little dots. Click that button. Share this. If you're an adult

who already has a business owner or even a mom or dad who's listening right now, share

this with your high school or college son or daughter, and they'll really get a lot out of this.

And if you are an entrepreneur listening to it, go ahead and give us some feedback and

rating and review, and we will talk to you guys next week.

Narrator: [00:14:30] The Marketing Native's podcast is a production of BitBranding.

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