Job Search Using Personal Branding

Self packaging – that’s what personal branding is all about. It’s capturing the personal and professional qualities that employers seek in their employees and embracing them as one’s own. It’s identifying the unique qualities, marketable skills, and institutional knowledge that someone possesses and building a reputation that captures the attention of employers. It’s a personal brand. And job seekers can use it to position themselves in the job market.

Anyone who has sat in front of the television for an hour on any given day has seen the numerous 30- and 60-second advertisements that fill the space between favorite television shows. And anyone who has turned off his television only to remember the catchy jingle or intriguing character that filled those brief seconds of advertising has been witness to the power of branding.

Personal branding is nothing more than positively capturing someone’s attention by creating an unforgettable image. Job seekers can use this same technique by identifying what employers want and then duplicating these qualities, skills and behaviors in their job search.

Developing a Winning Cover Letter

The benefit of a well-written cover letter is that it can be personal enough to make the reader feel special, yet sufficiently professional to get the job done. The intent should be to capture any information not in the resume and to highlight special points of interest about the candidate while tailoring the letter to each company. That’s where making the reader feel special comes in.

It’s important to use terms and phrases that resonate with the employer, so they have a sense that the job seeker is truly interested in their specific organization without sucking up. Over-the-top flattery, fifty-cent words, and bravado will sound false. Instead job seekers should:

  • establish themselves and their personal brand as being concise, credible and authentic
  • keep it original and interesting by indicating what they have to offer that qualifies them for the position

Creating a Brand-Focused Resume

A brand-focused resume is one that begins with job seekers determining what their personal brand really is. And to do this it’s important to figure out where they’ve added value, why they’re indispensable and how this applies to what an employer needs.

It’s not enough for administrative assistants or office managers to explain how they’ve supported their boss by organizing the office, maintaining the filing system, processing customer requests or whatever else. This sounds like a boring job description that, quite frankly, anyone could do. A resume needs to be filled with unique accomplishments, areas of unusual strength, and examples of premier growth. This means job seekers should:

  • Demonstrate their skills and accomplishments by using specific examples (i.e. specifically requested by Sales Director to speak at national sales meeting) instead of just descriptive words (i.e. excellent communication skills)
  • figure out how to put a twist on something that might otherwise seem ordinary (i.e. taught 25 customer service representatives basic customer service skills — in Spanish via long-distance learning)

Selling “Brand U” in the Interview

Now it’s time for the face-to-face, the show down, and it’s time for job seekers to show their brand. This means communicating what skills, abilities, and knowledge they have to offer that separates them from other candidates. In order to stand out from the crowd and present Brand U in the most favorable light, candidates should:

  • cultivate a professional image and sense of style by dressing for success and handling themselves in a manner that leaves a positive lasting impression
  • learn to articulate their expertise and accomplishments verbally in the same way they write their cover letter – clear, concise and authentic

Finding a personal style, building a solid reputation and making a positive first impression are all part of creating a personal brand. It’s important for job seekers to position themselves properly to attract employers.