Do You Know What Your Personal Career Brand Is? Have You Refreshed It Lately?
Attempting to practice what I preach daily to my executive resume clients, I am launching a completely revamped website and marketing materials featuring a refreshed brand for my firm, Creative Keystrokes Executive Resume Service this week.
(If you are reading this post, you are on my shiny new website 😊.)
This is not the first and probably won’t be the last time I have updated and refreshed my brand over several decades as a professional resume writer.
So, my question to you is: Have you refreshed your career brand lately?
With all the talk of branding and in particular ‘career branding’ or ‘personal branding’ lately, you may be wondering, “What’s so important about this?” “What IS a Career Brand,” and/or “Why do I need a brand, anyway?”
Every successful company or product in history has had a well-defined and high-impact brand. So has every prominent politician or world leader. This carries over to you as an individual as well.
Way back when I first started writing resumes, I realized that when you analyze it, job search is really a marketing activity – self-marketing, that is. So is overall career management. In reality, we all have a career brand – what others see as our essence. It’s a question of crystallizing that brand in our own minds and communicating it vividly to the world. If you can’t do that for a potential employer, how can you possibly expect to stand out from a crowd of candidates for a position?
While career or personal branding may be relatively new buzzwords, underlying them is an approach that I have been using for decades in preparing resumes and other career documentation for my clients. Widespread use of the personal brand concept was probably popularized by the prolific business book author Tom Peters. Remember his Thriving on Chaos of 1987 that spurred a management revolution?
In a 1997 Fast Company article entitled “The Brand Called You,” Peters stated, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You." This statement helped launch a revolution in the way people view their careers.
A strong personal or career brand is what differentiates you from your competition. It is how you stand out from others in your field—your essence. It should make an indelible impression.
Your brand needs to permeate every venue where others encounter you, offline and online. A well-branded career portfolio (your marketing materials including an executive resume, LinkedIn profile, and executive bio) communicates powerfully to your reader what makes you different from all others—your unique combination of personal attributes, passions, knowledge, and capabilities. These can include things like your uncommon high energy, strong character, exceptional mastery or unique knowledge of a particular aspect of your profession or industry, and inspirational leadership qualities. It often helps in zeroing in on your brand to reflect about what others have consistently observed about you throughout your career – for example, in performance reviews, 360-degree feedback, etc.
After viewing your career documents, an employer should see a “brand you” that paints a compelling picture of WIFM (What’s in It for Me?) if you were to join the company.
Your brand is not an elevator pitch, although an elevator pitch should be a part of your career portfolio and thoroughly imbued with your brand. Your career or personal brand is essentially your reputation… what the world knows you for. It is a perception of you that distinguishes you from everyone else.
Once you have identified the qualities and characteristics that define and distinguish you (your brand), you need to communicate that brand effectively across your online and offline presence.
In defining your brand, you will want to consider your vision and purpose in life and your career, what you are passionate about, and your core values. You will need to zero in on some adjectives that best describe your most important personal and leadership attributes as well as your core strengths and skills, and how these differentiate you from others in your profession. Then you need to make sure that all of your career marketing materials communicate these.
If you have properly branded yourself, a potential employer will see you as the candidate he or she absolutely MUST interview.
So, what is unique about what YOU have to offer in the career marketplace? Creative Keystrokes can help define your personal brand, and communicate it powerfully in all of your career marketing materials.