Preparing a compelling case for a hiring offer can be a daunting task for many applicants in today’s competitive job market.
In particular, how can aspiring professionals with little quantifiable experience convince prospective employers that they are ideal candidates for a position that fits personal goals, talents, and interests? Similar to the way a business positions itself in the marketplace, an individual can achieve recognition and desirability in the job market by careful branding. A personal brand, which is essentially the individual equivalent of a business brand name, dictates how one is perceived and regarded. It answers the question: what unique qualities and experience do I have to offer?
All branding is based on a single concept: the value proposition. In the case of an individual, the personal brand is dictated by the primary “product” that you have to offer. What are your passions? What inspires you? What do you excel at and what are you recognized for? What are your goals? Make a list and look for common threads. Then, formulate a personal value proposition, perhaps a tagline and a paragraph that highlight a specialization and key talents and competencies. As a final step, start brainstorming for anecdotal examples of each of these qualities in action. These stories will prove invaluable when interviewing for positions in your desired field, and the value proposition can be an outstanding tool for composing cover letters or other personal statements. With a clear value proposition in place, it is time to build brand exposure. Fortunately, there are many options for communicating your message, and the following are just a sampling:
- Make the most of online bios on LinkedIn and company websites.
- Get a good headshot that represents you as you want to position yourself (professional, personable, etc.) and use it whenever the opportunity arises.
- Create a website or blog, and share content that showcases your talents and establishes you as an expert in your field, and also as a relatable person.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality, but keep in mind how you want to be perceived and ensure that your image reinforces your brand.
- Leverage social media, and get the word out about who you are and what you have to offer.
Ultimately, the key to a successful and recognizable brand presence is not only a compelling value proposition, but consistency in the delivery. This lends a trustworthiness to the brand that nothing else can, and gives employees a reason to seek you out.