The most elemental (and often most difficult) aspect of a job search is to precisely and powerfully describe who you are, what you're going for and how you can contribute. These three elements comprise the foundation of your branding campaign and form an integral component to each of the ways you will be presenting yourself to potential employers. Moreover, clarity and consistency are critical to both your brand and to your ultimate success.
Here are three important areas for you to consider as you formulate your own unique and compelling brand.#1 In order to highlight your skills, accomplishments and distinguishing attributes to your best advantage, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my core message? What do I want people to take away from meeting me?
- In which ways will I outperform the competition?
- Which qualifications do I bring that will add value to the position/team/organization?
- What talents/experiences/accomplishments make me unique?
- Which of my skills will most attract recruiters, HR reps and others who scan LinkedIn and additional online sites for potential candidates?
- Am I focusing on the results I have achieved whereby I made a substantial contribution to the success of my former employer(s)?
- Am I quantifying the results I've accomplished so that they form a compelling representation of what I'm capable of achieving?
- Am I highlighting the 5 areas that will attract future employers with bottom-line results: saved money, saved time, increased revenue, made operations more efficient and/or enlarged customer base?
- Am I presenting myself in contemporary terms that represent today's in-demand skills and industry buzzwords?
- Your elevator pitch/brief introduction
- Your professional profile (top third of your resume)
- The background/summary statement on your LinkedIn profile
- The way you introduce yourself in cover letters, E-mail messages, networking letters, etc.
- Your response to the initial background probe at job interviews and networking meetings
- Am I exuding a combination of professionalism and personal warmth in my dress and manner? Does my body language -- posture, eye contact, handshake, and facial expressions -- support my brand and what I'm claiming about myself?
- Are my marketing materials -- resume, online profiles, cover letters and business cards -- pleasing to the eye and easy to read?
- Am I incorporating the liberal use of white space and bullets so that my key qualifications and accomplishments are readily spotted within a 30-second scan?
- Am I presenting my skills in order of importance in each of my documents -- making certain that the most critical appear at the top and to the left, thereby making them easily accessible at a glance?
By addressing these three elements of your job search campaign, you will be sending a persuasive and consistent message. And a compelling brand, a little luck and the right attitude should go a long way to turning you into a sought-after, highly attractive candidate. Even more, knowing that you exude a powerful presence (both in-person and online) will give you the confidence and the energy that is certain to move you forward and help you succeed!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success. Updated in 2014, it's packed with even more critical information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools they need to gain the edge over the competition and successfully navigate the modern job market. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!