Personal branding is an immensely powerful tool when it comes to the job search. What do you think of when you hear ‘Coca-Cola’ or ‘Kraft?’ Aside from the food and beverage products they provide, you think of something you can trust, that you would not question, and even if you have bad thoughts about them at least you are absolutely certain about the way you feel about them. That is the power of a brand and the fundamental goal of personal branding: make yourself more than just a name.
The job search is riddled with rivals and competition and you want to make sure you’re ahead of the game. But while setting up an identity for yourself begins long before you shake hands with your interviewer, upholding that image once you let go is just as important. This post will focus on the upkeep, but take a look at this article regarding how to build a reputation.
While maintaining the reputation your personal branding built up will be beneficial when it comes to promotions, it is even more important during the job search, the job interview, and the several days following the interview. The interviewer is already sold, that’s what strong personal branding accomplishes, but now it is your job to not shatter the image they have of you. Personality traits like warmth and confidence are universally beneficial qualities to have, but that won’t be enough this time. Luckily if you are not a very confident person it is much easier to do this second part than it is to fake machismo.
All you have to do is stay true to everything you created during your job search through the cover letters, resumes, blog posts, personal websites, and social media accounts of your personal brand. You were called in because they liked what they saw, so show them more. Emphasize the best parts of your personal branding arsenal, from stories to goals to quips to instances of noteworthy professionalism. They probably didn’t read everything so the more you say the better, but make sure it is only the best.
Once the employer sees that you are everything your personal branding promised you’d be, your job search might as well be over. While more and more people are working on their personal brands, many of them are not doing it right and are certainly not maintaining their constructed image. By doing so you are guaranteeing a spot for yourself among the top candidates for a position.
Personal branding is a powerful tool, but as with all things you can’t let it rust. It needs maintenance and attention and doesn’t end with hitting ‘save’ on that perfect cover letter. Prove you are what you promised and you will be rewarded. That is the power of the fully realized personal brand.
Do you make yourself more than a name in your job search? Are you a recognizable brand to employers? Tell us about your personal branding successes and struggles in the comments below.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by ryan_rancatore