In today's extremely competitive job environment it is increasingly important for each person to create a career brand so that prospective employers can easily understand who you are, what professional skills you offer, and based on your accomplishments, if you are the best candidate for the position.
While brand development is an imperative for marketing professionals, for most others, the first time creation of a personal career brand can be a challenging endeavor.
Those beyond entry level positions have been exposed to a collection of experiences gleaned on various jobs and have developed a variety of marketable skills. It is the skillful presentation of these career accomplishments that can provide the broadest number of career opportunities. When applying for a position it is most beneficial to properly "market your brand" so that an employer can easily evaluate your candidacy based on how you specifically are qualified and how you are better equipped than the competition.
Here's how to get started"
- Understand who you are and what key skills you want to emphasize at this point in time. Many job seekers will have had a number of different experiences over the course of their career. However, employers may be looking for a specific experience for a specific position at any point in time. If you are targeting a job move it may be easier to decide on what your expertise is today and how that can assist you to move to your next career opportunity.
- Assess your day to day work activities and rank what you do best. For example, you may be in the marketing department for a number of years but your role for the past year has been as project manager. Your career brand might be more salable if you were to position yourself as a marketing project manager rather than a marketing specialist. A prospective employer can readily understand where you would fit in the organization and make it more likely that you would be included in the interview process.
- If you are not sure of your ability to demonstrate/communicate your skill sets consider asking your colleagues for feedback. See if their perception of your "brand" is in sync with the one you are marketing. You might have a perception of yourself in one role when in reality others see you in a different way. (Women Lead)
Build your brand
- Many people develop a mission statement to help them clarify and stick to their brand. For example: "I am an organized, detailed, efficient marketing project manager who excels at large scale projects for high tech firms. "
- Once you have this focus it will help you build your various experiences to support this brand statement.
- Your resume is a key tool for internal and external jobs moves. Make sure that your resume aligns with your brand. You can certainly have more than one resume. Using the example of marketing project manager for a high tech firm it is now important that all your experiences and skills relate to this position. Resist the urge to add every experience and activity that you have done. Target five clear statements about what you did that support the job title you are pursuing.
Socialize your brand
- There are many ways to socialize your brand. Social technologies are accessible and diverse and can be an excellent platform to introduce your brand to the external world. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are three of the most popular platforms.
- Your social profiles and resume should match. Employers may go to LinkedIn first to review your background before asking you for your resume. Your LinkedIn profile should be current with the resume that you are sharing with employers.
- Join online groups and share your expertise. There are a number of groups on various platforms such as LinkedIn and Yahoo. Join targeted groups that match your brand such as marketing project managers who work in high tech firms. Find out how many members are in the group. If it is too small it may not be worth your time. Groups often share ideas and ask questions. This is an excellent place for you to share your expertise and also ask questions about opportunities.
- Join industry groups. Many recruiters will join groups that directly align with the types of placements that they have. Try to find recruiters who are specific to your area of expertise. For example "A recruiter who places sales people will not be as targeted as a recruiter who is at a high tech firm who specifically is placing marketing project managers ", says Gary Daugenti, JustStaff.com
By building your career brand you can help target your next job search.