When you stop to think about the idea of putting yourself out there as a potential job candidate, what are you really doing? You are selling a product. That product, in this case, is you. With every piece of documentation and communication that you share with potential employers, you are telling your story. Your unique combination of skills, experience and personality traits are being combined to create an advertisement that you will use to make known your personal brand.
When you are building a career, this is a helpful way in which to examine yourself. You have the opportunity to develop a way in which people think about you. No one else can offer the unique package that you bring to the table. Your skills and strengths, experience and knowledge, and personality and attitude are combined as a valuable force in your field. There is no other equipped quite like you, and you need to proudly stand by that truth.
So, that said, where to start? How do you create your personal brand and share your story while presenting your extraordinary combination of skills and talents?
Get to know yourself… What do you have to offer? What sets you apart from other job applicants? Your brand requires a depth of knowledge in this department. If you are going to relay your story to someone else, you must first know it yourself, and you should be able to state it in professional yet concise terms. Although you are, in one word, a banker or a teacher or a photographer or an accountant, what sets you apart from any other in your field?
Identify your strengths… While self-insight is an important part of this process, there are also times to consult outside sources. Start by talking to those who know you better than most and who have worked closely with you in various scenarios. Team members, professors, and close friends, for example. These individuals will see you and your strengths in a different light than you see yourself. Glean from their honest and supportive input as you work to further develop your personal brand. If you find yourself falling short of reputable sources in this area, then another option is the multitude of surveys and tests that can be taken to determine your strengths.
Determine your target audience… If you really want to make your brand do its part to work in your best interest, then you have to know exactly who it is with which you are communicating. What type of person or company do you want to work for? Make adjustments to your personal brand to have the strongest appeal to this particular crowd. Maybe there’s a unique niche that they are looking to fill, a certain type of employee that they are looking to hire. You don’t want to alter or fabricate your story to cater to their desires, but you do want to use the right words to relay your brand in a way that speaks to them.
If you’ve never thought along these lines, developing your personal brand can seem daunting at first. There are a lot of angles to think about. However, once you’ve put in the hard work, you will come out with a double win. You will have gotten to know yourself better while also finding a way in which to better sell yourself as the best candidate for the job!