In your job search, you are the product. You need to sell your experience and skills and convince the employer that you can solve their business problems. Your personal brand is essential to your success in this process. You should be very aware of your personal brand and you need to manage it carefully.
What are the key components of your personal brand?
- Presence – Before you speak your first word, you are making an impression on the interviewer. Do you walk with confidence? What is your posture while you are standing or sitting? Do you look comfortable or terrified? Whether their impressions are completely true or not, it is how they are experiencing you. Being aware of this helps you better manage the impression you make.
- Eye Contact – Be confident enough in who you are to make strong eye contact. It projects confidence. Looking off into space conveys a lack of interest and sincerity.
- Smile – A smile goes a long way in building personal connections. Even if you are nervous, smile. It demonstrates that you are happy to be there and interested in what you are going to learn about the opportunity.
- Professional Attire – When interviewing or networking with potential employers, dress like the successful professional you aspire to be. It sends a positive message and it shows them that you can dress appropriately when needed. Even with a casual workforce, you have to be able to dress the part for important client meetings, etc.
- Handshake – No wimpy handshakes allowed. Web to web connection with a moderate amount of pressure. Don’t be a bone crusher but show them you are a confident professional. If you are worried about sweaty palms, go to the rest room and wash your hands just before the start of the interview.
- Collateral Materials – Remember your resume and cover letters represent you in your job search. Be sure they are accurate – to grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. Make sure they put your best foot forward.
- Online Presence – Employers will check your online presence so be sure you have a professional presence and that your security settings are up to date. I’ve had candidates lose an opportunity because of what employers found online. Google yourself so you are aware in advance of what comes up.
- Your Key Differentiators – You are a unique individual with your own set of experience and skills. Be prepared to clearly articulate your key differentiators in your interview responses and as you wrap up your interview. Be sure to include key differentiators in your introduction as well
Paying attention to your personal brand throughout your job search process will help increase your success.