With everything you suddenly have to do to find and land a new job, now you also have to have a personal brand? That’s how I felt the first time I heard someone mention personal branding for job seekers.
Actually, you’ve always needed a personal brand. It’s just been called other things (professional image, for example) or taken for granted. Now, we have a name for it.
The idea of personal branding for job seekers is that an employer needs to have a consistent sense of you before (through your resume) and after the interview. If you’re memorable, you are much more likely to land the interview and job.
A friend who recently retired told me she landed her job in the company she retired from decades later without an interview of any kind. She took several written tests that determined her skills for the position, and the manager called her to offer her the job.
Now, an employer wouldn’t dream of filling a business with people screened only with a written test. Hiring managers and recruiters alike have become much more conscious of “fit,” that is, how you comply with the requirements of the position and the culture of the company. You may still take some sort of skills and/or personality test before you are hired, but it is unlikely to be the only determinant.
The interview is usually the culmination of the search for a new staff member. Whether it is one person or a group conducting the interview and making the decision, it is not an objective exercise. The impression you leave with the interviewer(s) has a significant impact on your ability to land the job.
Having a conscious and concise personal brand allows you to be very intentional in your interview. Choosing and using only information that supports your personal brand helps you present a stronger and more cohesive message, and that makes you memorable.
In addition, like most preparatory exercises, defining your personal brand forces you to take a hard look at the brand you have now and to make conscious choices about the brand you want to project. If you haven’t defined your personal brand, it’s not that you don’t have one; everyone does. Its just that yours may not be clear, and it may not focus on the message you choose.
Taking the time to define your personal brand is foundational to your job search because it help you make some decisions you might otherwise avoid. Your personal brand helps your next employer differentiate you from all of the other applicants. When you stand out for the right reasons, you are a step ahead.
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