Your Brand Is the Key to Your Next Job

When starting a job search, personal branding should be at the top or your priority list.  A strong personal brand helps you to stand out in a crowded job market and distinguishes you from other applicants.

So what, exactly, is a personal brand?  Like the red and white of Coca-Cola or the sleek design of Apple, it is the presentation of who you are in the workplace. In the job market, building a personal brand is a way to define what makes you unique, stay relevant, and, most importantly, be employable. 

A successful personal branding strategy uses the same strategies that make corporate brands appealing.  Here are four steps to personal branding success:

  • Develop visuals that represent you.  Review your business cards, resume, cover letter, reference documents, portfolios, and your video resume .  Ensure each item is thoughtfully crafted to look professional yet reflect your personality, and that there is visual consistency among the items.

  • Craft an elevator speech.  This is your 30 second commercial.  Pretend you’re in an elevator on your way to a dream-job interview, the door opens and in walks the CEO of the company.  This is your opportunity to let him know who you are and what you have to offer in a succinct, well-spoken manner.  Practice it out loud until it flows, and then practice it some more.  If you are not practiced, it could turn into the longest elevator ride of your life! 

  • Review your online image.  If you were to Google your name, what pops up?  At the very least, you’ll find links to every social media outlet you’ve ever been to.  Your LinkedIn profile, Facebook posts, interactions on Twitter, photos on Instagram, boards labeled on Pinterest, and every blog post you’ve ever written are all there.  It’s not too late to ensure this very public image is leveraged to enhance your personal brand. Remove offensive posts, clean up the “about me” sections, and add a professional image to your profiles.  

  • Update your personal style.  It’s no secret that what you wear (and how you wear it) has a huge influence on others perceptions of you.  Your appearance must be polished.  For interviews, convey professionalism and authority with a blazer or suit jacket and leave the denim at home.  Press your clothes, tuck your shirt, comb your hair, keep jewelry to a minimum, and ensure clothing is stain free and all buttons are securely attached. Do not let your appearance be a distraction.  Bold colors, funky accessories and trendier items are great--after you’ve landed the job.

About the Author

Barbara Ellis is the Manager of Corporate and Strategic Relationships at American Public University.  She has held leadership positions with a number of top tier retail companies, with experience leading and training large teams, managing budgets in excess of $60M and marketing on a national level.  Barbara shares her expertise via speaking engagements and by writing blogs and articles for a variety of publications providing insight on personal branding, business, leadership, and more.



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