Let’s talk about your brand. No, not your company's brand and not the brand of the product your company manufactures, markets, or sells.
Let’s talk about the brand called “You”.
You wouldn't expect your customers to buy a product if they didn't know what it was or exactly what it would do for them.
What benefits would they get from purchasing a product like that? Here is how to avoid being that generic job candidate.
The same is true for Brand You
Your potential customers, or in this case your potential employers, need to know exactly what makes you different. They need to know what makes you better than the other products on the shelf (ie. the other job candidates).
Understanding and articulating your brand requires an objective view of your career.
This includes the wins you’ve had in your career, the ways in which you’ve gotten those wins, and the things others consistently noticed about you and call upon you to do.
The best way to maintain an objective view of your career is to ask your colleagues and former bosses or customers whom you’ve worked with. Find out how they see you.
Here are some questions to ask your current or former bosses, colleagues or customers
Ask them these questions and listen to what they have to say:
What is great about working with me?
What do I do better than most people you’ve worked with?
If I were to use you as a reference, what would you say about me?
Now ask yourself some questions
Make notes of all answers to your questions:
What am I constantly called upon to do?
Am I turning around underperforming departments?
Am I building departments from the ground up to become showpieces for the organization?
Do I always find myself growing a business with existing customers?
What is my “secret sauce”?
This question is one you ask to discover that secret ability inside you that no one else has.
How do I accomplish what I accomplish?
Is it my ability to secure the best talent in the industry and keep them?
Is it my ability to build long-term relationships with customers?
Do I have the ability to see potential in a customer and present that customer with solutions to their problems that catapult their results?
Aspects of your brand
Sometimes, it is not so much the individual aspects of your brand, but rather the combination of those brand attributes that makes you different from other job seekers.
Personal note on my brand
This is the crux of my brand. Many people in my field have a masters degree while many have the same certifications and plenty of similar experience.
Others provide great customer service, are personable, and produce great results.
There are very few, if any, who can claim all of these qualities and attributes.
What is never a person’s brand
You can safely say these two statements will not define your brand:
“I am hardworking and a team player.”
These qualities are the equivalent of a car salesperson trying to sell you on a particular vehicle because it has tires, an engine, and a steering wheel.
That salesperson hasn’t differentiated the car you’re interested in from any other car on the planet.
You want to know about gas mileage, safety features, the entertainment system, and the warranty.
What differentiates you from others?
You want to know what differentiates this vehicle from others on the lot. You want to know what differentiates this vehicle from its competitors.
A potential employer wants to know this same information as it relates to Brand You.
Your brand has to be differentiating and compelling.
The next time you are job seeking
Before your next job search, be sure you can clearly articulate Brand You. Otherwise, you're the less-expensive, fallback generic option.
What makes you Brand You different from Brand X?
Figuring out the answer to this question is the secret to finding career success.