The importance of developing your personal brand
The competition in today’s job market has never been more fierce.
The inboxes of recruiters and hiring managers are regularly inundated with applications from highly qualified candidates who boast exceptionally well crafted CVs and top notch interview skills. Nowadays, landing a job is not about mass emailing a generic job application to as many employers as you possibly can; it’s about learning how to develop and adapt your personal brand.
Throughout Ireland’s Celtic Tiger years, jobs were far more plentiful and being able to put together a solid CV and acing an interview were enough to make you a strong contender for a role. These days considerably more is expected of candidates, particularly when it comes to their job search preparation and technique.
Due to the high volume of applications, employers have had to revaluate how they screen candidates. In the majority of situations, candidates must be prepared to describe how they can contribute value to the business and express their worth in terms of the economic benefit they can deliver to the business. This is where the personal branding phenomenon has emerged from and the reason it is so successful is that it allows an employer to gain a clear understanding of the candidate’s character, their previous experience, skills, career achievements and goals. In short, personal branding allows a candidate to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The first step to developing your personal brand starts with your CV. At the top of your CV should be an opening paragraph that provides a brief professional summary describing yourself, this is called a personal branding statement, it is effectively a series of impact statements, which need to be backed up with examples.
For example, a personal branding statement might read as follows: “Target-driven sales manager proficient at high volume customer account management. Proven track record in overseeing resource-intensive projects. Respected leader with highly-effective communication and multitasking skills. Committed to implementing and delivering dynamic, flexible and innovative solutions to the business.” As with the rest of your CV, your branding statement should always be modified for the specific job you are applying for, customise it to the needs of your prospective employer. Your objective is to advertise how you can identify and solve any ongoing problems the business may have.
Try not to think of yourself as merely a job seeker looking to land a job, instead you should really try to consider yourself more like a salesperson; the product you are marketing is of course yourself, your services and unique talents. Every aspect of your application from your cover letter, CV, initial phone call, quality of your handshake and interview technique, all speak volumes about the quality and integrity of your personal brand.
Before you meet the hiring manager for an interview, your goal is to showcase your strengths, abilities, talents, experience, achievements and knowledge. The employer wants to get a sense of your relevant transferable skills for the role you are applying for and determine how you can be of benefit to their business and align with their objectives.
Another powerful self-promotion resource is the use of testimonials and references. Professional endorsements make for an excellent means of showcasing your capabilities, work ethic, experience and career achievements. Your references should not only come from your former bosses but also colleagues and clients. They serve as brief success stories that highlight your credibility as a professional. It is good networking practice to always personally thank each one of your representatives. Their testimonies are invaluable and it is very important that you recognise the positive contributions made by those in your network.