Creating a distinctive and memorable personal brand may be the most important component of your entire job search. Every job seeker is armed with the same tools: a resume, cover letters and a lot of hope.
But, not matter how well written your résumé is or how thoughtful your cover letter is written, you still haven’t done enough to separate yourself from the rest of the people seeking the same job. You’ve got to stand apart. You’ve got to be distinctive. You’ve got to be memorable. Bottom line: you need to build your personal brand.
Your Unique Selling Proposition
At the core of your personal brand is your personal branding statement. What is it that separates you in your professional field? What makes you unique and desirable?
In sales, this would be called your Unique Selling Proposition. What is the one thing that will make a hiring manager tell himself that he’s got to meet you?
The problem most job seekers make when they define themselves is their definition is simple a restatement of their professional responsibilities. “I’m a recruiter .” Or “I’m a tax accountant.” But that’s not nearly enough. Your branding statement has to be much deeper than that. It must really reflect your core strengths and attributes that an employer will desperately want to have.
To illustrate what I’m talking about, when working with sales executive Tim, his first attempt at defining who he was resulted in the generic statement “I’m a sales executive.” Having known Tim for nearly 20 years and having worked with him professionally, I knew there was much more to him than that.
360 Degree Evaluation
I gave Tim an assignment to talk with his former managers, peers and clients and ask them how they would describe him. This process of getting feedback from people above, below and at your peer level is often referred to as a 360 degree evaluation and can be enlightening and revealing.
The feedback Tim received was pretty consistent and included descriptions like: genuine, passionate, empathetic, great listener, adjusts to anyone, understanding, personable, sincere, caring, achieving, personable and visionary.
The dominant theme revolved around Tim’s ability to connect with his clients and peers and build lasting relationships. And in sales, those relationships are crucial because people do business with people they like. Tim builds lasting friendships with everyone from the machine operator to the CEO and is able to convert these relationships into sales.
The Branding Statement
This recognition resulted in Tim creating his own personal branding statement:
I’m the guy who can build the relationships with the people you most want to do business with.
It’s simple, it’s focused and it’s intriguing. It’s the type of statement that invites the next question from a hiring manager: Tell me more.
Note what it wasn’t. It wasn’t a laundry list of everything that Tim can do. It didn’t include his record of achievement, though that record is impressive. It didn’t focus on his strategic sales and business development experience, though his skills there are also strong. But Tim focused on one thing. A single differentiator that leads to curiosity, interest and a face to face meeting where Tim can tell his whole story.
And that’s where we’re headed next. Telling the stories that illustrate who you are and why they need you.