The importance of personal branding
“Highly motivated”, “strong work ethic”, and “outstanding people skills” are wonderful qualities that recruiters, hiring managers, and college admissions directors seek in their applicants. But who doesn’t have these qualities?
A brand is a ‘unique design, sign, symbol, words, or combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors”. (www.businessdictionary.com)
Branding has become a marketing tool that not only promotes goods and services, but is essential for job-seekers or college applicants seeking to differentiate themselves from other candidates.
Being a ‘dedicated worker’ and ‘good solid performer’ are basic expectations that do not communicate information about who you are, your value, and what makes you unique. Employers search for passion, enthusiasm, and commitment in candidates whose brand aligns with their own brand: their organization’s mission, vision, services, or products.
For students applying to college, admissions directors also seek applicants with a personal ‘brand’ that aligns with their educational mission and vision; students who know themselves, can readily communicate a sense of purpose, and will contribute to the campus community and world beyond.
Personal branding is differentiating you among the crowded and competitive workforce or applicant pool. It contains only information that matters to your potential employer or admissions reader. It is not a laundry list of past job titles or general personal qualities. It is your purpose, your story. It is the value you will bring to the organization and why you should be hired or admitted. Having a branding statement allows you to connect people to who you are - above and beyond the quantitative information that is already embedded into your resume or college admissions application.
In addition to building your branding statement around who you are and what you want to be known for, it must be relevant and impactful to help hiring and admitting officials make decisions. You want this personal ‘infomercial’ to be engaging and interesting; punchy and memorable. You want to ensure you communicate accurately and concisely your areas of expertise and ‘market value’.
Recommendations for the length of your personal or professional branding statement vary. Some career experts say your brand should be communicated in one or two sentences. Branding stories or ‘pitches’ are also brief: 30 to 60 seconds should sum-up your mission, purpose, and promise of performance.
Crafting a powerful and concise branding statement is a challenge for most job-seekers and students. As you take time to reflect on your reasons for doing the things you have done and the person, professional, or student you are, you will discover what drives you. Your personal story’s plot will emerge. You can then share your statement in your résumé, cover letters, and social media presence. And at an interview, you will be prepared to make an awesome first impression when you respond to the “tell me about yourself’ request. Coming up with your personal branding statement will go a long way in helping a future employer or a college admissions counselor connect with you more deeply. By capturing your passion, your strengths, and what motivates you, the statement adds something really special to an otherwise information-focused resume or application - creating a connection to you that goes beyond that list of achievements.
And finally, brands are ‘organic’. We tweak, add to, and refine our brand as we live life and increase our awareness of our authentic selves and create a brand we are excited to share with others. If you would like to learn more about the process of developing your personal brand, reach out to me by calling 845.663.4308.