Sell yourself and your brand
Creating a personal brand helps employers see your uniqueness.
Personal branding is about communicating your identity and showing what sets you apart from others in your field. It combines the personal with the professional, since a brand encompasses your skills and talents, along with personality and style.
Why take the time to develop a personal brand?
- In a tough job market, you need to stand out. Besides helping you identify your personal strengths, having a brand can pull your resume to the top of the pile, make you shine in interviews, and leave your LinkedIn readers positively wowed.
- Corporations take great care to develop a brand that defines their product. Brands help inspire trust and commitment in consumers; if you apply similar thinking to your personal brand, you can distinguish your value in a way that inspires an employer’s interest in you.
- With so many marketing options, you need to be consistent. Use your brand in all your job search communications, including your cover letter, in interviews, and in thank-you notes. Your LinkedIn and other social media should clearly reflect you and your professional brand.
- Most work is project-based. Your brand is a short hand description of what you bring to a team, or to the table for projects.
So, are you ready to start thinking - or re-thinking - your personal branding strategy?
Consider several of your best work experiences and how you contributed to them. What skill or characteristic is reflected in your best work stories? How did you use it? With what result? Ask yourself: “Why do people like to work with me, or employ me?” What earns you compliments or accolades? What do people depend on you for?
Here are some examples to get you started:
- Are you friendly and always the one to organize social events at work? Your brand could include “an inveterate team builder and initiator.”
- Do you take unusual care to ensure details are thoroughly thought through, and accurate? Your brand could be “willing to take on the precision that scares others away.”
- You might be an outstanding supervisor who makes operations flow, and brand yourself “a problem solver who excels at developing talent.”
You can identify your signature characteristics yourself, or work with a career coach or counselor to help you identify them. It’s a good idea to ask for some feedback on your ideas from a few trusted friends or colleagues before you go public with your brand, to avoid a mismatch of how you see yourself and how you may come across to others.