Earlier posts in this three-part series:
The basic concept of personal branding is that your entire job search has a consistent message, look and feel. Think of it as your ad campaign.
Other than Geico, which has multiple ad campaigns going at one time, the gecko, the talking money and the Rod Sterling character, most companies only have one ad campaign running during a particular time frame. You should be like most companies and only have one campaign going at a time.
Being Consistent with Your Personal Brand
Here is a list of things to check to be sure you are being consistent with your marketing materials:
- Name: Do you use the same name on all of your marketing materials or do you have your formal name in some places and not others? Do you use a middle initial in one place but not everywhere?
- Job Title: When you state what you are looking for, are you consistent with the job title? If you list various titles for the same job, do you list them in the same order?
- Document Header: Is the header (content and format for your name and contact information) on your resume the same as on your networking guide and cover letter? This is like your stationery. If you laid out all of the pieces of your marketing material together on a table, would you instantly know they are for the same person without having to read the name?
- Color and Font: If you have a website, is it the same color scheme as your business card? Do you have a logo or graphic that you consistently use for your marketing materials?
- Consistent with the Product: Is your brand consistent with the product – you? Are you looking for a position based on its title or pay but is not consistent with what you can do or want? If you are looking for an upper management position, do you dress and groom like upper management? For instance I dress conservatively (suits) so my appearance would not be consistent with someone in fashion or a creative field.
Implementing Your Personal Brand Statement
Having a branding statement isn’t enough, you need to implement it throughout your marketing materials.
- Tagline: If you developed a tagline and want to use it on your resume, it should go immediately under the header and is considered part of your header. If you have a horizontal line under your contact information, then the tag line can go under the graphic line. Consider typing the tagline in italics and in title case (first letter of each primary word is capitalized). Decide if you want the tagline in color so it stands out when viewed or printed on a color printer. Realize however that if the recipient prints on a black and white printer it will show in a shade of gray so you may want to test printing it in black and white to see how it looks.
- Personal Brand Statement: You do not need to use both a tagline and branding statement on the resume. If you use both, do not use the exact same set of words. Example: my tagline is “The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach.” If I use that on my resume and want to use my personal brand statement as well, I will want to use other words for “affordable” and “successful.” If you use your personal brand statement in your resume it should go where you have a career summary. It can be used in place of your existing career summary or blended in.
- Accomplishments: Be sure to list your accomplishments in the section “above the fold” and under the job history that support your branding statement. If you don’t, it will ring hollow.
- If you added your tagline to your resume header, you should add it to the header on your cover letter. You should always use the same on all of the job search documents you create.
- Using the T cover letter format, you should be sure the qualifications you list support your branding statement.
Business Card / Contact Card
- Side note: Every job seeker should have a business / contact card. In fact it has surprised me how many job seekers don’t have or use one. My next article will be on the importance to job seekers of having a contact card.
- It is essential that you add your tagline to your contact card. You may also want to add a few points from your Personal Brand Statement onto the card, maybe in bulleted format. Do not add your entire branding statement t to the card; it’s too much text.
Email Signature Block
- If you use an email system that has the feature to add a signature block to the email (name, contact information), you want to preformat the signature to include your tagline.
- If your e-mail system doesn’t have that feature, open a Word document and develop an email signature block yourself that you can use to copy and paste into your emails. That will also help make your correspondences more professional looking.
LinkedIn and Other Social Networking Sites
- In your LinkedIn profile, you can include your tagline in the free-form field under your name. Your entire profile, including your photo, should support your brand as well. Be sure to request recommendations from people who can attest to your brand. Your photo should be consistent with your branding statement.
- Hiring authorities will search online for your name to see what is out there about you. Before they do, you should do a search on your name to discover what’s out there about you. Take the time to clean up your blogs and Facebook and YouTube accounts from anything that could eliminate you as a candidate.
- By doing an Internet search on your name now you will know what is out there currently.
- What about new entries? There is a tool you can use to alert you to future mentions. Google Alert can be used to identify any mention of your name online that the search engine encounters. Note however, it will give you alerts for anyone and everyone with the same name. It is easy though to quickly review all alerts and delete the ones that are not relevant.
- The basic elevator pitch includes your name, title, what you are looking for, and ends with a closing question in the form of a question.
- Your elevator pitch should also include your tagline whether you use the one you developed or a conversational version of it.
- The networking guide is the one-page document you should give to people in your network so they have something specific and actionable to do to help you in your job search.
- Just like with your resume and cover letter, the networking guide should include your tagline or brand statement.
- When I worked in IT, I was known for taking over teams that were struggling and turning them around. I improved productivity and quality and increased customer satisfaction and employee engagement. That is what I want to communicate during an interview with an IT company.
- During the job interview, you want to be sure to communicate your brand, what you are known for, the value you bring and how this company will benefit by hiring you.
Now that you’ve learned how to position your branding statement in your marketing materials, it’s important to continue sharing it whenever applicable. Other tips:
- Maintain your brand. Be sure other people know about you and the value you bring by participating in in-person networking and LinkedIn groups.
- Develop new skills, increase self-awareness, expand your network, and evolve your brand as you evolve.
There are some fabulous books on the market about personal branding. They include but are not limited to the ones listed here. If you have recommendations about other books on personal branding, please share them in the ‘Comments’ field below.
- Me 2.0, Revised Edition by Dan Schawbel
- Career Smart: Five Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand by Sherri Thomas
- Managing Brand You by Jerry S. Wilson / Ira Blumenthal