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 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 to find out more.

The Secret To A Great Visual CV

Infographic Free Digital Photos

Image sourced from

Visual design is a great way to differentiate yourself from other job candidates and it helps you to communicate your personal brand. All of us (yes, even recruiters) respond to visual storytelling and images rarely fail to grab our attention.

Remember your cv is not just a formality, it’s an important marketing document designed to convince a recruiter to buy into you, give you an interview, and eventually offer you a job. Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you get yourself in the “yes” pile with clever design.

Put Yourself Into Your CV

A creative cv that communicates your values, personality and potential allows recruiters see who you are before they meet you. Inject it with your personality in a way that tells a story and makes your experience stand out. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t

an advertising creative or a graphic designer. A well designed cv can highlight strengths such as marketing and branding expertise, writing skills, your presentation savvy, and/or

your knowledge of social media trends.

Promote Key Points

Pull out the sections of your cv you want recruiters to notice, and make them stand out. For example, if you have a great career history you could consider using a timeline to show it off. If you have some good testimonials, promote them as quotes. Consider using a headline drawing attention to your USPs. If you have any achievements based on statistics, there is a lot you can do to highlight these with design.

Don’t Exceed Your Limits

If design is not one of your strengths, do not attempt to do it yourself. A badly designed cv will do more harm than one without any visual design at all! Get someone to do it for you, as it’s worth the investment. Take a look at our own cv design service.

Know Your Industry

Are you applying for marketing or advertising roles? If so, you can afford to go all out. Are you applying for a role in engineering or childcare? If so, you may wish to calm it down a bit. The trick is to know what

you’re up against – b e original for the industry you are applying in, but don’t overdo it. A caravan might seem impressive amongst tents, but insignificant amongst castles.

Keep Multiple Versions

It’s good practice to have multiple versions of your cv anyway, but particularly if you are using a visual cv. Always keep a traditional cv as a backup, particularly if you are applying for jobs online. There is no harm in sending both as recruiters will appreciate you trying to make their lives easier.

Share Share Share

Once you have a creative visual cv, send it to everyone you know. It will no doubt be a novelty to many of your contacts, and they may even pass it on if they are really impressed. Use it as a conversation starter with new contacts and give copies to your friends and family.

Want to know more? Sign up to the pro plan at for just $9.99 per month for painless career development to bring your career to life.

How to choose the most relevant CV format for your job search

Career Development


Over the last few years, most of my clients’ biggest career roadblock has been the CV or Resume, specifically, which type to use and how to best design it so that they get invited to interview.

The CV or Resume has evolved over recent years and there a number of formats which can you can choose from. Even though there are thousands of recruiters and probably millions of job seekers who would love to have the CV “killed off” from the recruitment process, it is by far the most widely-used personal marketing tool, and whether your job search strategy is networking or job board surfing, you need to have one.

CV writing is a multi-million dollar industry in the US and Europe and you could spend up to $500 to have one designed. There are some websites which offer a resume builder or free templates such as and

It goes without saying that all CV’s, of any format, need to be carefully selected and designed to suit the job market you are targeting. In this blog post, I have selected a number of traditional formats as well as some new entries that you could use to develop your own. I have highlighted the key reasons why you might use a particular type and the advantages and disadvantages of each to better help you in your selection.


Use this if you are looking to stay in the same or similar career track / function. Depending on the country you are applying to, or even the industry/sector, it can vary from 1 page to 6 pages, but in my opinion less is more. The content is structured to display your work experience from present role working back to past positions. Effective chronological CV’s or Resume’s summarise the key purpose and scope of a held position (e.g. how many resources, budget, scope etc) and bulletpoint achievement statements to describe duties with tangible results. For example: Led a multi-million dollar project with product launch on time and under budget

Advantages: It allows the recruiter and hiring manager to quickly scan down and pick out your relevant experience, skills and achievements to the role you have applied for. It is the most traditional format and is easy to design. There are many online templates and services which offer this format.

Disadvantages: Most of the CV’s and Resume’s floating around in recruitment databases, inboxes and job boards are of this format so the format does not standout from the competition.

Functional / Skills-based

Use this if you are changing career tracks, functions or sectors. The functional CV format allows you to summarise transferable competencies and skills required by your target position. The chronological experience section is summarised to just job title, employer and dates so as to not distract the reader too much and place more emphasis on the transferable “functional” competencies. For example, if you are looking to move from food and beverage to sales and marketing, then this is an example of where you might choose this CV format to highlight transferable competencies such as customer relationship management or marketing.

Advantages: This CV format allows the reader to focus on your transferable competencies rather than get distracted by non-relevant experience.You can get very creative with how you design the front page and you should definitely highlight achievements associated with the transferable competencies.

Disadvantages: Unfortunately not all recruiters and hiring managers like this format – some do and some don’t, but even so, this has probably a better chance of being looked at than a chronological which screams “no relevant experience”.


Use this if you’re in a very competitive job market and need to stand out or if you are working in the creative sector, where originality and good design skills are expected. You will either need to have great photoshop skills to pull this off, or you can hire a professional to do it for you. Some freemium web services such as provide you with the tools to create this for yourself.

Advantages: This is great for making a memorable first impression and if you know the recruiter or hiring manager is looking at hundreds of other CV’s which look the same.

Disadvantages: Be careful when you choose this format – make sure it suits the industry, sector or profession you are applying to, even the company culture could make or break this approach. A busy looking or unclear visual CV could also confuse the reader, so be careful with your design choice.


LinkedIn is fast replacing the traditional CV shared in Word or PDF format.

To be competitive on LinkedIn, you’ll need a fully populated Profile that rivals the content of your competition (and you may want to visit their Profiles to see what you’re up against!).

Your LinkedIn Profile will also require an intensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to pull in traffic from recruiters. Some of the fields on your Profile (such as your Headline) are highly indexed, meaning that you’ll need to place powerful keywords there to attract more views.

Advantages:Over 90% of recruiters are now hiring from LinkedIn so not having a presence on this professional social media platform is a grave mistake. You can also export a copy of your LinkedIn profile to PDF. Make sure to add your public url to your email signature or networking card to give potential employers quick access to your profile. Click here if you want to know more on how to do this.

Disadvantages: It is much harder to use LinkedIn as a functional/skills-based format and you will need to select one sector/industry to be associated too, which might be challenging if you’re targeting more than one.


This format usually compliments the more traditional CV and is essentially another avenue you can use to showcase your achievements and career successes.


Advantages: Employers get to see how you present yourself. Multiple sites offer you the ability to upload a video resume -such as – or you can include it on your own blog or professional website. Check out this crazy version of how far someone was willing to go to work for google.

Disadvantages: Visual first impressions can be very subjective so it’s important to dress appropriately and practice your introductions and pitch so that when you record it’s pitch perfect.

Website/Blog/Video Games and other online formats

What will they think of next? Ok Blogs and Website resume’s are nothing new but the other day I came across an online article where Designer Robby Leonardi created an interactive resume set to the theme of Super Mario Bros., featuring a Mario-like character that jumps and swims through a colorful history of his work experience.


Advantages: Similar to the infographic or video resume, this can be a complement to your traditional CV and depending on the sector you want to work in, it can be a great way to get you to stand out from the competition.

Disadvantages: Be careful with your design.

I’m quite sure this isn’t an all-inclusive list of CV and resume formats. However, I think this is a great head start for helping you consider the options out there. Consider integrating or testing a few of these formats into your job search arsenal in 2014 and see what a difference these make. Have a resume format you think will be big in 2014? I’d love to hear about it! Share it with me in the comments below.

Are you struggling to get your CV noticed? Are you receiving rejections instead of interview invitations?’s co-founders, Natalie and Enrica, are hosting a FREE Recruitment Insider webinar on “How to get your CV shortlisted for interview” on Monday 24 February 2014 at 1pm CET (UTC+1). Click here to register.

4 steps to writing punchy personal statements

coverletterDo you use a personal statement in your CV? Is your personal statement punchy enough to entice the reader to learn more about what you have done in your career?

If the answer is “yes” you can skip reading and share your personal tips with us on our blog, if not you could probably find some good advice in the next few lines.

By the way, how could a personal statement make a difference in a CV?

Well, did you know that in most cases a recruiter will not spend more than 30 to 60 seconds reading your CV? Your personal statement should usually be placed in the upper part of your CV and is mostlikel y to be the first bit of information a recruiter will read.

A punchy personal statement is a great opportunity to stand out and to draw attention to the rest of your CV. If you miss this one, there’s a good chance your CV will fall into the “delete” folder.

Writing a punchy personal statement is easy, all you need to do is write a few lines answering four essential questions you will find here below.

Be specific, use clear words and short sentences; all in all don’t write more than 4 to 6 lines.

Keep in mind that being ready to write a personal statement implies that you have already gone through your self-assessment and you are fully aware of your values, interests, strengths and where you want to be in your next career step.

So what are these famous four questions to guide you when writing your personal statement?

  1. Who am I? Without getting into too many details, try to summarize, in a few words, what your unique attributes are and those that differentiate you from other candidates. For example: “I am an enthusiastic young graduate with a passion for excellence in customer service….”
  2. What do I want to do? This relates to the type of role that you are looking for and how you could contribute to it. For example: “I am looking for en entry level position where I could use my knowledge in (a particular field)….. to (contribute in a certain way)….”
  3. Where do I want to do it? Say a few words that describe the type of environment you would like to be in. For example: non-for profit organisation, large multinational companies in the private sector, start-up, market leaders, international or local environment. You could even define the type of environment by setting some values, for example: working for a well-established organisation that values people as their key success factor.
  4. Why do I want to do it? This is about what you are trying to achieve as a personal objective and why you have an interest in it. For example: grow experience in a certain field, learn about a specific product, service or industry, build a specific set of competencies, etc.

This is an example of how you could answer the above questions and define your personal statement:

I am a graduate in International Relations with a passion to deal with people and solve conflicts. Thanks to my family background, I have experience living in a number of different African countries and a good understanding of local cultures. My aim is to integrate within a large non-for profit organisation, in a field-based role, using my cultural background and conflict management training to support local teams.


I am a Marketing Product Manager with experience in the fashion industry and have worked for numerous well-known luxury brands across Europe. I am looking to grow my career into a new marketing role, working for an affirmed market leader in the luxury goods industry where I can contribute to the promotion of new initiatives and markets.

I hope that you found our article useful and that you will share it with many of your friends who may be interested. Please leave a comment on our blog or feel free to suggest any other topics that you would be interested to hear about in the future.

Are you struggling to get your CV noticed? Are you receiving rejections instead of interview invitations?’s co-founders, Natalie and Enrica, are hosting a FREE Recruitment Insider webinar on “How to get your CV shortlisted for interview” on Monday 24 February 2014 at

1pm CET (UTC+1). Click here to register.

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