By Catherine Kaputa
Searching for a job in a bad economy is not high on anyone’s to-do list. To be successful, you need to use special tactics and strategies – you need to brand yourself. Branding is all about standing out and getting traction in a competitive environment.
Here are 5 ways to market Brand You for a successful job hunt:
1. Target your customers
Adopt the marketing mindset by determining who your “customers” are. They might be hiring managers, influential people in your network, senior executives at your old company, etc. Then, rather than focusing on your needs (finding a job pronto), ask yourself these three questions:
Then work backwards:
2. Position your brand differently
When it comes to creating your brand, find the best positioning for yourself – something that you can stand for that is different, relevant and adds value. You want to solve a pain point in the marketplace. Remember, in terms of branding, the most important aspect is how you influence others’ perceptions. Position yourself and your attributes so that they sing for a specific job. Think of your resume as an “ad” for Brand You. Tell a compelling, relevant story with the resume, beginning with the profile at the top of the page. Everything should work together to position you and tell a cohesive brand story for you and the job you are exploring.
3. Have a compelling “elevator speech”
The elevator speech is a must that many people overlook. Hence, when they are in the job interview or at a networking event, they stumble through explaining who they are and why that is important. The elevator speech is short. (That’s why it’s called an “elevator speech.”) It should be your sixty-second personal commercial. It’s your personal introduction that is colloquial, conversational and memorable. That’s why you’ll want to use a sound bite or analogy or anecdote to set yourself apart. In essence, an elevator speech should convey the key highlights of what you have done and how you did it. It should also imply that there’s more you can do, specifically for that customer.
4. Be consistent at every touch point
Brands try to take advantage of every touch point so that everything works together when a customer comes into contact with the brand – the product itself, the advertising, the PR, the in-store experience - the total customer experience with the brand. Likewise, you should make sure your brand conveys a consistent image and message at every touch point: your appearance, your resume, your phone messages, your emails, your follow-up letters, your business card. (If you’re unemployed, make sure you create a personal business card. Nix to writing your contact information on a scrap of paper or your old business card.)
5. Seek “celebrity” endorsements
You may not know any real celebrities (I don’t either), but you no doubt know another type of “celebrity,” such as the CEO, President or SVP of a company where you worked, or a senior executive who could vouch for you. Ask them to provide a short sentence or two about your ability and character and use it as a third-party endorsement. You can use the quote in an addendum to your resume or in cover letters. You can also invite these “celebrities” to recommend you on LinkedIn. (You may want to make it easy by offering to draft the short testimonial so they can do the final editing.)
In following these 5 steps, you have the chance to weather the economic storm and come out of it with the job of your dreams.
Catherine Kaputa is a nationally known speaker, author, and self-branding guru. Her new book, The Female Brand, Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business came out in July. Her previous book, U R a Brand: How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success, was winner of the Ben Franklin Award for Best Career Book of 2007 and a bronze IPPY award. (The book is being reissued in paperback as You Are a Brand.) Kaputa is founder of SelfBrand LLC, a NYC-based personal branding company.
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