The Brand "You": Think of all of the products you know and connect with immediately just by seeing a logo...the swoosh, a golden arch, an apple with a bite out of it...brands from McDonald's to Apple have all claimed headspace, almost burned in impressions in the minds of their potential customers, so why can't you? You absolutely can, by establishing a personal brand that allows you to differentiate and position yourself from the competition. In this case, your audience is the hiring managers and recruiters that deal with thousands of resumes each day. Job searching is hypercompetitive; your goal is to stand out and underscore the unique value you can bring to a company by developing your own personal brand. Your personal brand can be defined as your total professional package as viewed by your audience.
Key Brand Elements:
- Personal Appearance - Including clothing, hygiene and attractiveness down to the finest detail – think complete professional image.
- Personality - Your values, goals, identity and behavior – intangibles that underscore your drive and motivations.
- Your Core Competencies - These are cognitive, business, communication and technical skills that enable you to perform your job responsibilities – think academic skills, class and work experiences; think real world abilities built in either classes or on the job.
- The Differentiator - Offering a unique value proposition or benefit to your target audience – match competencies you have with competencies needed for the job in which you are interested.
- As you construct the brand "you", develop each of these important elements. Remember, you must weave your brand and the elements that make up the brand "you" into the stories you tell during the interview process. Just the process of considering the key branding elements will help you prepare for those all-important behavioral interview questions to come.
Growing Your Brand: Personal Branding is an ongoing development that exists throughout an entire career; this is a never ending process that is blended directly with an ongoing sense of self-awareness. As your experiences, competencies, and physical and emotional attributes grow, your brand will enhance, much like in a product lifecycle. Creating, maintaining and evolving your brand will help you positively communicate your unique message.
Treat yourself as the product and sell it!