In business, branding is the backbone of any successful enterprise. It conveys the heart and soul of the company, its products, reputation and values. Throughout your career, you must be conscious that you are an enterprise with a brand. You must craft your brand carefully, control it diligently, and protect it fiercely.
Your brand is the sum total of your personal and professional reputations, your competencies, and your relationships. To help discern your personal brand, ask yourself these questions:
- What are your lifespan goals?
- What is your mission?
- Whom/what do you wish to serve?
- What is your self-impression?
- What niche can/do you occupy – personally and professionally—that no one else can claim?
When you are conducting a job search, your personal brand is critical to your success. Consider the following to prepare yourself to succeed:
- Email – Make it easy for people to find and remember you. If you want to highlight your technical skills or creativity you might want to consider your own domain name. First name and last name is professional and appropriate. Avoid cute nicknames or other personal emails. Do not use your employer’s email account. That sends a negative message to potential new employers.
- Professional Biography – You should craft a one page documents that clearly conveys the who, what, when, where and how of you, your values, passion, experience, expertise, credentials and career objectives. Include a personal fun fact such as a favorite hobby or volunteer activity in which you are involved. This could be used as your profile on Linked In.
- Resume – The goal of a resume is to get you an interview. Think about it from the perspective of the hiring manager. How you can focus on their needs and provide a solution to their business needs. Use the language from the job description where possible. Be sure you have no typos or grammatical errors.
- Portfolio – Do you have samples of your work that you can share to demonstrate your talents? Be sure you respect employer privacy. Providing samples is particularly important for writing samples and creative work you may have created in a previous role. Typically you want to show your samples but do not leave them behind. You may need them again.
- Social Media – This is an increasingly important part of your personal career brand. As a minimum you should have a complete and professional Linked In profile. If you use Facebook or Twitter be sure there is nothing you wouldn’t want an employer to see. If you have a blog and it is appropriate, be sure to mention it in your collateral.
- Appearance – To be taken seriously in your job search, you should have a professional appearance. No matter how talented, smart and experienced you may be, appearance matters. Pay attention to hairstyles, makeup, clothing, accessories, briefcases and portfolios. When in doubt always opt for more conservative dress.
- Communication – Create a communications plan and monitor your efforts as you communicate your brand. Be open to feedback and make changes as needed.
In the job search process, you are the product. Be sure to present the best you possible at every opportunity.