These tips will help you create and communicate a brand that will help employers choose you: Remember you are the product, and the employer is the consumer. A clear and compelling career brand helps employers understand the benefits of your product and give you an advantage in the job market.
- Successful career brands weave together three A’s: Authentic image, Advantages, and Awareness. Project an image of your authentic self, focus on the advantages you offer in getting the job done, and make employers aware of those advantages.
- Authentic Image: Your brand should be founded on authenticity. It should be about who you are, your work-life purpose and what you are committed to in life. As a starting point to develop your brand, brainstorm a list of all the things you are good at. Then identify your passion. Using your brainstormed list of what you’re good at, circle those items you are most passionate about. What is number one?
- Advantages: Once you’ve identified your top pick, determine the advantages to that item. For instance, if you are good at resolving conflicts what could be the advantages to a new employer – greater cooperation among team members, which leads to enhanced productivity. List at least three distinct advantages for your brand.
- Awareness: Internationally known consultant and author Alan Weiss, states that a brand is “an awareness factor.” Above all, look for opportunities to make the right people aware of your brand. Get on the radar screen. The best brand in the world is useless unless people are aware of it. Initiate an orchestrated campaign to “brandish” your brand. You can get your name out there by writing articles, speaking at association meetings, doing some voluntary work.
- Conduct some some analysis to determine what the market conditions are for your emerging brand. Is there a need for what you offer? Are companies hiring in that area? Are there competitors for what you want to do? If the answers to these questions are negative, consider fine-tuning your brand.
- Once you’ve determined your passionate competency and the market demand, begin to determine the best approach for positioning your brand. Think unique positioning. Are you the best at creating product marketing strategies, are you the first one to have mastered how to conduct electronic meetings for your work team, are you the most accomplished, award-winning sales professional in your company/industry?
- Branding can be accomplished through verbal and visual means. Verbal branding includes your sound bites and success stories, while visual branding is accomplished through your actions, attitude, and attire. Hone your product benefits into a short 3-Point Marketing Message that conveys your unique strengths. This message/elevator pitch should be a critical sound bite in your branding campaign.
- Create a statement on the benefits you bring to keep you focused in your search, help networking contacts know how to help you, and explain your value to interviewers. Align your statement with employer buying motivators, such as generating revenue, saving money, or solving a problem.
- Be prepared for the networking opportunities that abound, both internally and externally. Be ready with a sound bite that describes your unique brand. Mix and match your success stories and sound bites to create a comfortable yet compelling 2-Minute Introduction.
- Practice. You must be able to deliver your sound bites naturally, without appearing as though you’re reading a telemarketing script.
- Visual branding means you must look the part. Ask for wardrobe advice from someone who is successful and has a good sense of style. If uncertain about how to dress for a networking event or interview, err on the side of formality.
- Visual branding also means you must act the part. Candidly evaluate your mindset, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. Are these consistent with others in your field who have attained notable success?
- Find a person or two who will respectfully and selflessly support you in your commitment to shaping and enhancing your ideal image. A coach can be an ideal support person.
Branding will either contribute to or take away from the chemistry you want to create with employers. Remember to look for opportunities to deliver your brand. In doing so, you’ll bring value, benefits, and advantages to those you serve. Enjoy creating and communicating a clear and compelling brand!