On Thursday, April 14, 2016 I experienced David Rendall‘s “Freak Factor” motivational speech at the American University in Dubai. This was just one of 21 presentations he will give in seven countries this month!

I’ve virtually known David since 2012 when I was an Associate Content Manager for the Business Segment at Lynda.com; this was my first chance to meet him in person. Anchored by the motto “what makes us weird also makes us wonderful; what makes us weak also makes us strong,” the nearly 90-minute presentation encouraged those in attendance to “think differently about being different.”


His intent was to help us understand our “Freak Factor” — the unique combination of our strengths and weaknesses that make us different and make us powerful. Presenting personal perspectives — including his experiences being 6 feet, 6 inches tall — David walked through seven steps that help us understand ourselves by thinking and acting differently about our weaknesses:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Appreciation
  4. Amplification
  5. Alignment
  6. Avoidance
  7. Affiliation

A nine minute, 15 second compilation of his full presentation follows:

In summary, David’s message is not that we need to turn our weaknesses into strengths, but that our weaknesses ARE our strengths; they’re what differentiate us from everyone else.

Success follows when we focus on these unique strengths because they position us closer to our goals than starting from an entirely foreign area would. David also encouraged all of us to overcome negativity bias — when we see the negative in a situation — and instead look at the potential that our weaknesses present.

We should therefore turn up the volume on our weirdness and not allow ourselves to get stuck in a middle zone. Stop trying to fit in and we need to find out where we fit.


Similarly, we should build relationships with people who support our uniqueness, just as we should do the same for others who are important people in our lives.

To learn more about David, visit his website or buy his “Freak Factor” book (affiliate link). You might also like a more complete version of his presentation, “Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness: Dave Rendall at TEDxMarinette.”

Social media offers individuals an excellent environment to promote their personal brand to strengthen their professional platform. However, if engaged carelessly or irresponsibly, social media can sink you faster than the Titanic after it met the iceberg. Certainly nobody is perfect, but if you consider the 7 career-saving social media strategies below you will be more likely to swim than sink in social media.

1. Add Value to Conversations: If all you do with social media is re-tweet and share the ideas of others then it is apparent you won’t offer a potential employer original thoughts and you most likely lack motivation and initiative. In short: don’t be boring!

2. Avoid Smack Talking or Trolling: Politics, religion, and sports are topics about which people are passionate, but when you go overboard emotionally you can get yourself into trouble. Even a casual comment on an article on Facebook or a reply to a Tweet can come back to haunt you. There are countless stories of people getting fired from a job before they even start it due to a careless tweet or flippant Facebook post.


3. Don’t Discriminate: 34% of employers in CareerBuilder’s recruitment study reacted negatively to finding social media posts with discriminatory comments related to race, religion, and gender. Another 29% of employers reacted negatively to social media posts with discriminatory comments related to race, religion, and gender. And, even if your intent was to be humorous, keep in mind that comedy doesn’t often translate online or across cultures; something you might think is funny might be offensive to others.

4. Keep Private Info Private: Unless your name is Julian Assange, you’re likely not going to make friends or influence people by disclosing sensitive or confidential information on social media. And, no matter how quickly you might try to delete it, social media remembers. You might also inadvertently share private information in public, especially on Facebook, where most people seem to misunderstand the platform’s privacy policies.

5. Post Appropriate Pictures: 46% of the employers in CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment study said provocative or inappropriate photographs are a big red flag. Another 40% said finding information about candidates drinking or using drugs was another reason to pass.  In short: don’t put your faults and foils on display for a future employer to find. Christopher Affsa, an attorney at the Law Office of Daniel F. Affsa in Weymouth, Massachusetts, shared the following:

“I had a drunk driving client tell me she went to one bar and only had one drink. I checked her Facebook and her profile picture was of her raising a glass. Worse, on the night in question she checked into five bars.”

6. Present a Professional Persona: Ironically, one of the biggest errors people make is to overlook the opportunity social media offers them to elevate awareness of their personal brand. According to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment study:

52% of employers research applicants online. Within that group, 60% look for information supporting the candidate’s qualifications; an additional 56% want to see a candidate’s professional online persona.

7. Use Good Grammer, err — Grammar: Learn your homophones! Your and you’re mean different things as do their, they’re, and there. Conversely:

37% of employers in CareerBuilder’s recruitment study  reacted favorably when they discovered that a candidate had great communication skills; 38% were further impressed when a candidate’s social media presence conveyed a professional image.