How to Create a Compelling Personal Brand During your Job-Search

Whether you like it or not – everyone has a personal brand! From graduates to seasoned CEO’s, their brand tells the world who they are. Here’s what marketers say about branding: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Does this apply to your job search? It sure does!

So instead of burying your head in the sand, and pretending that you don’t need to pay attention to this article, take 5-minutes to review this practical article on how to use your personal brand to advance in your career and secure your next job.

Be Clear About Your Direction

In a job search, your brand is manifested in your LinkedIn profile, the recommendations friends and colleagues give you, and how you present yourself during interviews. Your CV and cover letters are also an opportunity to highlight your brand to the hiring manager who receives and reads them.

In order to maximise these channels, first we must be clear about how we express our brand. When we first start working with many of our clients, they describe themselves and their job search in generic and vague terms. “I’m a project manager” is a common expression used to describe someone seeking Project Management roles.

There’s only one problem: almost every Project Manager we know describes him – or herself the same way.

“I’m an IT Project Manager,” some would say. From a branding standpoint, that’s immensely unhelpful and vague. We don’t know what sort of projects or sectors this person works for. We don’t get much sense of a job seeker’s brand in these statements, because they’ve very generic or full of jargon.

The first step in honing your job-search branding message is to understand the sorts of jobs you’re pursuing. You can have more than one job-search target. Our Project Manager may be targeting software implementation as well as infrastructure upgrades. Be aware that having more than one job search target will cause a problem on your LinkedIn profile, which will limit you to just one branding message. You will also need to tailor your individual application to match the industry or sector you are targeting.

Once we have a sense of our job-search direction and any targets inside that direction, we can think about our job-search brand. It’s very hard to work on our personal brands until we know where we’d like our job searches to go!

Fine Tune Your Branding Message

When we decide, “I am going to focus on Job Search Direction A,” we gain a great deal of power from that decision. It’s much easier to define what make you a great candidate for that job search target. From my experience as a recruiter, I noticed that when applicants had a crystal clear job-search direction and brand they stood out confidently. His or her message is no longer “Just give me a job,” but rather “I’d love to talk with you about your [IT] issues, because I love to project manage solutions.”

Some great examples of a clear job search direction include:
“I’m looking for HR software implementation project roles in Europe”

“I’m looking for Marketing Internships within the manufacturing sector”

Now that you are clear on where you are heading its time to ask yourself: why are you the best person for the job?

Most of us have a shopping list of reasons why we might be the best person but how do you bottom line this so that you are able to sound unique? Do this by listing what you do better than anyone you know.

Don’t be modest. This first attempt is not necessarily going to be used on your CV or LinkedIn profile. This exercise is meant to help you get in touch with the elements and qualities that make you perfect for the jobs you’re pursuing.

Use human language and avoid corporate jargon such as “I have excellent teamwork skills..” A more authentic list of statements might include something like, “I motivate project members to outperform their targets”.

If you can, try to list as many as 10 statements on your list. Now it’s time to synthesise these to a statement you can use in your CV, LinkedIn profile and networking conversations. This statement will be vivid and describe why you do what you do so well.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you have decided that your ability to motivate superior performance amongst project team members is a huge advantage over other IT project managers. You really like to get under the skin of your team and understand what motivates them individually. You expect that not every project manager enjoys or is interested in doing this. And you know that this makes a huge difference in being able to deliver
projects on time and on budget.

Part of your job-search branding statement may be “I love to understand what motivates my team to excel in their performance.” Notice that you’re not praising yourself as you say that. You’re telling the reader (of your CV or LinkedIn profile) what you love to do. If you love to do something, are you likely to be good at it? Most would tend to agree.

An ideal statement should be no more than 1-2 sentences long. It should be easy to remember and memorable.

If this has caught your attention and you are ready to draft your personal brand statement, take a look at our April blog on “How to write punchy personal statements”. This article is much more detailed in helping you answer the questions that lead to a compelling personal brand statement.

If you enjoyed this article and felt inspired to draft your own, feel free to share on the comments below.

10 Creative Ways To Get Your Dream Job

Let me be clear. Creativity is not about being artistic, it’s about being inventive. If you can appropriately demonstrate relevant skills and motivation to a potential future employer in a creative way, then you are on track for getting your dream job.

If you video yourself singing the words to your cv in the shower to apply for a role at a solicitors firm then you have not mastered this skill. If you purchase ad space outside a media buying agency and use it to sell yourself to the directors, that’s more like it…

Here are some real examples we found that demonstrate employment seeking creativity.

1. Singapore-based student Chen Zhi Liang’s assignment set by his graphic design tutor was to create an infographic. Not only does it showcase important qualifications and skills, it’s also visually attractive without being overwhelming. Liang’s minimal approach is perfect for an overcrowded job market.

Chen Zhi Liang

2. Rob Jervi turned his cv into a box, and even learned how to make the chocolates inside as well (Oreo truffles, peanut butter cups, amaretto ganaches, etc). LFH called Jervis up an hour after receiving his chocolate-themed resume and offered him a paid internship, which led to a full time job.

Rob Jervis

3. This one is a bit risky, but it paid off because these two jobseekers knew their industry and audience. Andrew Grinter and Lee Spencer-Michaelse bought the personalised URLs of several creative directors of Australian advertising agencies. The duo then directed the directors to their URLs, where they had posted a ransom note, telling them to set up a meeting with them “or the site gets it”. Luckily it did the job and got them several interviews.

4. Lindsay Blackwell decided to try a creative approach in her application for social media director of the University of Michigan. She created a website with a video directed at Lisa Rudgers, the university’s vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives. As you might expect, it got her an interview.

Dear Lisa Rudgers

5. Slideshare allows users to share their presentations online and other users can comment and share. Ben Wong made a Slideshare presentation resume in hope of landing his dream job. The video has been viewed over 74,000 times!

6. Graeme Anthony uploaded his professional information to YouTube in the hope that it would attract interest from PR employers. Anthony’s interactive video application included a breakdown of his skills and timeline for potential employers. It showed his video-producing and editing knowledge as well as his ability to use online resources, and succeeded in landing him a job at Manc Frank.

7. Melissa wanted to showcase her sewing abilities to potential employers in the design industry, so decided to create this beautiful sewn cv during her final year at college. She wanted to represent her affection for sewing and including handmade elements in her design work for a more intimate feel. It was so successful that Melissa got the first job she applied for out of college and is now a product

designer at Etsy.

Melissa CV

8. French creative Victor Petit was struggling to get interviews for internships at communications agencies, so he decided to spice up his paper cv by including a QR code. One side of his application features a pretty standard cv design, but on the other side there is a close-up of Petit’s face, with a QR code over his mouth. Prospective employers scan the code, which then plays a YouTube video, featuring Petit’s mouth and transforming his paper application into a talking resumé.

9. We all Google ourselves regularly (and if you don’t you should). Alec Brownstein decided to take advantage of this by purchasing adverts to appear when specific people searched for creative directors’ names, or more importantly, when those directors Googled themselves. The ads led to Brownstein’s website with a message that simply read, “Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.” Brownstein now works at Y&R New York, and the ads only cost him $6.

10. When Phil Dubost was seeking employment as a Web Product Manager, he decided to feature himself as the product on his “Amaz-ing Resume,” a website which is modelled after an Amazon product page. Dubost really brings his CV to

life with little quirks such as the message to “order soon” as there is “only 1 left in stock” and an original list price of $999,999 which is scratched out, leaving prospective employers to come up with their own offer. The Independent reported that Dubost had received at least 100 emails from potential employers.

Phil Dubost

Now it’s your turn! Share with us in the comments below your own creative approaches to job search or career climbing.

It’s important to make sure that your job application stands out. Here at iwantmycareer.com we

have our own CV Design service and we can even create an Infographic CV for you! Some of our coaching services help you with your CV and selling yourself, and there is even the option to sign up for a free starter plan. Visit iwantmycareer.com/services/ to find out more.

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