Branding…Think Pepsi and Coke

Brand identity is how the consumer perceives a product, and marketing and advertising executives make a lot of money creating brand identity for those products we buy every day. While Coke and Pepsi have changed their recipes from time to time and they do indeed taste different, they spend a LOT more money creating and marketing their brand and trying to convince you to buy their product.

For the purposes of this blog, the consumer is the potential employer and the product is you. So, how are you going about branding yourself during the job search? Are you doing the same stuff or less than the average applicant? Do you look a bit like the generic products on the bottom shelf…dusty, boring and cheap? You might work just as well, but maybe not, and “Thanks, but I think I’ll pick the one that has ‘pretty’ packaging, clearly tells me what it’s going to do and has proven success according to the commercial I saw last night during my favorite show.”

Yikes! Refuse to be the dusty box on the bottom shelf! Here is how:

Work on your packaging:
  • Your resume and cover letter must be error free and have an appealing layout
  • Your resume and cover letter must contain action packed verbs that communicate relevant skills, successes and innovations
  • Your dress must be professional
  • Your emails, voice mail messages (the ones you leave and the one on your own phone) and personal introductions must be clear, concise and professional
  • Develop a 30 second commercial/introduction

Be visible:

  • Talk to people in your network (friends, family, professors, advisors, supervisors, customers, etc.)
  • Educate your network about what you are seeking
  • Create a LinkedIn account and join relevant groups
  • Join professional organizations in your field of interest
  • Join leadership, service and alumni organizations in your community of interest

Be authentic:

  • Identify your strengths, values, skills, interests and personality type so you actually know and can articulate what you offer the world of work
  • Be bold about and “own” those things you hold dear to you
  • Find creative and innovative ways to do what you want

Attract the right kind of attention, and be proactive in creating your brand.

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