Job hunting. It can be one of the single most challenging, and downright infuriating, necessities that comes with having a career. What’s even more frustrating? The number of times we can expect to CHANGE jobs during our lifetimes — whether we want to or not.
Building your personal brand can be the difference between surviving organizational change with your employer and failing to make the cut. Or, if you’re looking outside your current walls, between landing a new role and losing it to your competitor.
It all comes down to knowing who you are and what makes you different. This not only allows you to become the candidate of choice, but also empowers you to decide who you want to work for, and who you don’t.
Here are three strategies to honing your personal brand and leveraging it, whether you are looking for a new job or competing to keep the one you have:
1. Review your resume for results.
Your resume is probably the most comprehensive marketing tool you have. In order for your resume to stand out, it needs to demonstrate both results and your personal brand.
Review each job and determine your impact: What was your biggest accomplishment? This may be harder for some jobs than others. However, forcing yourself to think this through is important because the results found in your resume support the story you are marketing in your career history. And your well-thought out results will perform double-duty when you’re asked to give specific examples during an interview. Also, identifying your successes builds your confidence as you job search, network, compose cover letters and networking emails, and hone your LinkedIn profile.
2. Identify and reflect on your values.
Pinpointing your personal values may help you determine what you love about a job, or why you want to leave it. Clarifying your values also helps you determine who you want to work for, and who you don’t, when looking for a new job.
For example, if one of your core values is transparency and honesty and the leadership at your organization doesn’t communicate well with its employees, then you will likely find yourself frustrated. Those occasional frustrations can grow into true dissatisfaction as you experience that acute disconnect between what you hold dear — and how the organization behaves.
If you are clear on your values, you will start to recognize signs of the same belief system in prospective employers. Likewise, you can eliminate organizations from your list who might sound like great places to work, but actually are the wrong fit when it comes to your values.
3. Practice your elevator pitch.
In an era of sound bites, people don’t spend a whole lot of time reading or listening (and studies show a resume is read in about 6 seconds), so it’s a great strategy to develop an elevator pitch. Simple yet powerful, your elevator pitch can capture your personal brand at the top of your resume, in your LinkedIn profile, or yes, in an elevator encounter.
For example, your elevator pitch can go right below your name on your resume and kick things off for the reader. As an attention-grabber, your elevator pitch can be your LinkedIn headline or your profile Summary. It also can serve as a key “anchor” during an interview. A challenging aspect of interviewing is not knowing the questions you will be asked. Your elevator pitch is a great way to answer that “Tell me about yourself” question, invite your listener in with your storytelling, and reinforce those important accomplishments.
When you know who you are and feel confident about your unique skills and strengths, you will be equipped with a stand-out brand – a powerful differentiator that allows you to become that candidate of choice. Clarifying your core values is also a critical piece to understanding why you would work for one employer and not another. As a result, you can make that decision with greater care.
So take some time this holiday season to think about the most important person in your job search (you!) and focus on building out your brand. I guarantee it will breathe new life into your career, and that it will prove to be a game-changer when it comes to your job search and where you take your career next.
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© 2018 Traverse Career Solutions | Ellen Dunagan