Defining your own personal brand isn’t a mysterious process that only certified professionals can do. If you are motivated and determined, you can figure it out on your own.
That said, your results are likely to improve when you involve a professional because they can often see connections and details that will escape you. It’s that old can’t see the forest for the trees thing.
I remember being annoyed when I completed my 360 Reach assessment with my 360 Reach coach, Kelly Welch at Yes Career Services.
“I don’t think this worked very well,” I told Kelly after my first look at the results. “Nobody talked about what a great resume writer I am. They hardly even mentioned my writing at all. Isn’t that my brand?”
Kelly is an extremely patient and kind coach, so she managed to keep from laughing out loud. “If you think of your brand as something distinctive about you, resume writing doesn’t really set you apart from all the other people who do what you do,” she explained gently. “What did you notice that a lot of your results had in common?” she asked.
“Well, they said they could count on me, but I didn’t think that was very important. Everybody who is professional is responsible.”
“Hmmm. When is the last time you had to check up on someone because they didn’t return your email?” Kelly asked.
“This morning,” I replied. “Happens all the time.”
“Do you ever not reply to someone’s email?” she asked.
I was starting to wonder where this came from. Weren’t we talking about branding? “Not really. I always figure they need to hear back so they know I received their message.”
“Hmmm. And does anyone ever not show up for an appointment without calling first? Kelly asked.
“Sure, probably once a week,” I said.
“And when is the last time you cancelled an appointment without calling ahead?”
“Never,” I said. “I’d never do that to anyone.”
“Do you still think being that reliable is common?” Kelly asked.
“Maybe not,” I said, starting to get what she was talking about. “So, being reliable and having people know they can count on me is part of my brand?”
“Yes, a big part. They even have a name for it in the 360 Reach system. People like you are known as Rocks, like in Rock of Gibraltar.”
“Well, I don’t know that I’ll ever admit to that label, but I’m beginning to see what you mean. For my brand, it’s less important what I do than how I do it. People are going to come looking for a resume writer, so they will expect that I know how to do that. If they find out I’m the resume write they can count on no matter what, then that tells them something about what I’m like to work with. Since reliability is something not everybody has, for me, it is a differentiator.
“I think you’ve got it,” Kelly said.
If 360 Reach interests you, I highly recommend Kelly Welch as your assessment coach.
If you are struggling with your personal brand as it relates to your job search, contact me to talk about how I may be able to help.