The definition of branding is “to make an indelible mark or impression on somebody or something.” It’s all about marketing or positioning yourself. Done effectively it attracts connections, opportunities, and job offers. Who doesn’t want that?
It could be that you have already branded yourself and don’t realize it because you haven’t articulated it yet. Maybe you’re known as “the sales manager who makes quota, no matter what’s going on in the economy,” or “the engineer who speaks the customer’s language.” That’s your brand.
Or it could be you’ve branded yourself and that brand just ain’t workin’ for you. People change, times change. Even Smokey the Bear, Betty Crocker and Mr. Peanut get a new look to stay current. Maybe you’ve changed careers, industries, or goals. Maybe you’ve upped your qualifications. If so, it’s time for a new definition of you. A re-branding.
The job field is a crowded one. So, you need to stand out. No matter what position a company is trying to fill, it hires because of its needs. Ask yourself what problem the company is trying to solve, and then position yourself as The Solution. The problem could be wasted time, a bloated sales force, product shrinkage, poor customer service, tarnished public image, slow delivery time, or poorly motivated staff. Just like people, most companies have multiple problems!
Once you know what a company needs, you can effectively craft your brand to satisfy that need. The most difficult part about creating your personal brand is making it original. So, be as specific as you can about what distinguishes you, especially when that’s exactly what a company defines as the answer to its problem.
Let’s be clear: Your brand is not your job title. And, if your brand looks like almost anyone else’s who has the same job title, yours needs work. Let’s talk.
Benefits of Positioning
I can’t stress enough the value of branding’s role as a valuable strategy. To get why I’m so keen on this topic, scan this list of branding’s benefits.
- Helps you stand out from other job applicants by making you memorable. It can give you the edge and help you outcompete other candidates.
- Hands you a ready-to-use LinkedIn headline, a resume positioning statement, and a Twitter tagline. Cool!
- Gives you a strong and consistent phrase to use as the subject line in an email or cover letter to a prospective employer, hiring manager, or recruiter.
- Makes interviewing and networking easier. It provides a convenient answer to the question, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself.”
How to Develop Your Brand
Here’s my list of resources to help you identify what makes you stand out, sources you can go to if you need a mind-jog to define what makes you special and valuable.
- Performance evaluations
- Customer appreciation letters
- Your emails to see what good things people have said about you and your work
- LinkedIn recommendations
- Letters and memos of commendation from colleagues and supervisors
- People you know and people you work with. Ask for feedback. How do they see you?
Understanding your brand and communicating what makes you unique and exceptional will help you reach your career goals. I’ll be sharing more about branding in my next post, including five online resources for researching the job you want.