More and more people are talking about the importance of personal branding both in your career search and in your career development. Effective personal branding not only makes you stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters, but can also increase your job security by communicating your value as a leader and team player to your organization.
The career search is where most students and professionals first come in contact with the newer concepts and implementations of personal branding. While many career and personal branding experts have discussed the various Web 2.0 channels through which you can promote yourself and your brand in your career search, including personal websites, blogs, and social and professional networks, it is first essential that you actually create a promotable brand that appropriately represents you and your proposed value to an organization.
You may be asking, “Well, how do I do that?” Here are some steps to create your personal brand and to build it into your career search efforts:
Personal Brand Name Brainstorming
Creating your personal brand may not happen overnight and it may be a work in progress throughout your career as you develop more strengths; however, the best way to start is to write down all of your strengths, including those related to your skills, those related to your personality and those related to your leadership style. You might ask your friends, family members, colleagues and supervisors for words that they would use to describe you as a leader and/or contributor. Highlight the ones that reoccur and that overlap with the ones you wrote down for yourself. You might also be interested in taking some personality/career tests to help you identify some words and phrases that describe and represent you. I would seriously recommend taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test to identify your personality type and then search for more information online about people and professionals with this MBTI type. Often this information will include a brand-like title for your specific MBTI type and may inspire some ideas for your personal brand name.
Personal Brand Name Selection
After having taken a little time to research yourself and to collect words and phrases that describe or pertain to you, it is now time to select and/or create a brand name for yourself. For example, perhaps you are a very social, extroverted individual and your friends, family and colleagues have all said that your strength is relationship building. This is significant and could be very valuable to use in your career search efforts. However, many people say that they are good at building relationships, so you need to come up with a memorable and unique way to promote this strength to employers. This is where you can create your brand name. As a relationship builder, you could be the “super glue” of the team. You lead by developing deep relationships with your teammates and create a cooperative cohesion among the members of your work group which increases your overall productivity. In addition, you help to improve customer relationships with high levels of customer service and focus which increases revenue and profitability. Obviously, this is just a simple example, but a brand like “super glue” and a follow-up description like that make you look professional, creative and valuable, and will help you “stick” to employers and recruiters.
Personal Brand Name Integration and Promotion
Now that you have your brand name, it is time to start integrating into everything that you present to employers and recruiters, including your resume, cover letter, emails, interviews and personal websites, blogs, and social and professional networks. You may not always integrate it in exactly the same way across all of these, but develop a short career pitch presenting your chosen brand name and what it means about you and what you can contribute to the organization and use that as a foundation on which you build everything else. You can include this pitch in your emails to contacts and employers, in your cover letter and on your personal website. You can take brand and parts of your pitch and incorporate them into a short objective at the top of your resume. You can also use this brand and pitch when networking at events or in interviews when employers ask you why you should get the job or to tell them a little bit about yourself. Include it in your LinkedIn profile, both in your subtitle (below your first and last name) and your summary. If appropriate, make your brand name your title. So instead of just listing your actual job title, such as “product manager” or your general category like “marketing professional,” like so many job seekers, use your personal brand, such as “strategic energizer” or “new product incubator,” as your listed title.
If you have other ideas of ways or channels through which you can promote your personal brand, don’t hold back! Maybe you could choose a symbol or create a logo that visually represents you and your personal brand and that you could place on your website, etc .
Whether you are the most creative person or the least creative person, personal branding starts with you and what you have to offer. A simple brand name, explanation and even a short tagline help you quickly and effectively communicate your value to others and make you rise to the top of a talent pool of qualified job candidates all saying roughly the same thing.
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