Create an Authentic Brand
In past articles, I’ve focused on tips for taking time to build your online brand; but I want to take a step back and make sure we are all on the same page when I use the term branding as it applies to the job search or a career transition.
First, we all have a professional brand or reputation, although we may be unaware of what it is and not actively working to shape or promote it. Second, when it comes to the job search, building a professional brand is not just about job seekers and what they’d like to promote about themselves; to be effective for the job search, your professional brand must take into account what type of position you'd like next, the type of employer problems you like to solve—and are great at—and the type of employers you'd like to work for.
In other words, to stand out in the job search and to attract desirable opportunities to you, your brand must not only focus on what’s great about you, but also how that will help employers solve their pain or problem, and what distinguishes you from other professionals who do what you do.
The process of getting clear on what you’d like to do next in your career and shaping or reshaping your professional brand to support your goal can help you identify what’s satisfying to you career-wise and where you can be a star performer and play to your strengths. Exploring the following four areas and answering these questions can help you get started:
- Your achievements and track record: What specific professional problems have you enjoyed and excelled in solving for employers in throughout your career? For instance, do you have knack for developing new revenue sources? Saving money? Keeping existing or acquiring new customers, readers, members, or sponsors?
- Your abilities: What abilities do you possess that others usually do not have that can help distinguish you from other candidates for your desired position? This can be particularly useful for career changers to think about.
- What others have said about you: What qualities have others complimented you for? What have your supervisors praised you for in your performance reviews? What awards have you received?
- Your connection to the company’s need: Do you possess a unique or outstanding skill, great industry network, personal quality, or relevant experience that can give you an edge over others in solving your target employer’s problems?
Your answers to these questions can lay the groundwork for developing a clear target and professional brand. Then, you'll know which relevant and impressive qualities, experiences, and success stories to promote in your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other online and offline career marketing efforts to attract and land that next perfect opportunity for you.