I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a workshop with Loretta last week at the JETS/Schmoozers job group in West Hartford, CT. Our topic was Building Your PB&Js: leveraging your personal brand through the 32 components of your job search. PB&Js was our playful shorthand for Personal Brand Job Search.
Our goal in this seminar was to help in-transition professionals land better jobs by unearthing and applying their personal brands to the job search process. But first, we needed to help them discover their personal brand.
Fitting in versus standing out
With so much competition for jobs, there’s a tendency for job seekers to present themselves like chameleons: capable of shifting, changing and blending into whatever form best fits the hiring company’s criteria. Job seekers are skilled at changing their key words and customizing their resumes and cover letters to say just the right words to be considered for an interview. As a result, recruiters are overwhelmed with look-a-like candidates. There are too many people who claim to be the perfect square pegs that fit exactly into the company’s square holes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s insightful words take on new meaning in today’s labor market:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Unearthing your personal brand
Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand. It’s the unspoken promise that you make to the world – what people can expect from you now and in the future. It’s what you are known for. It’s your reputation. It’s people’s perceptions of you. It’s how they describe you to others. As Loretta Peters describes it, your personal brand is your unique promise of value.
The strongest personal brands are authentic, compelling and memorable. Like a corporate brand, a personal brand can be molded and shaped. It can be developed and managed. You can invest in your personal brand. Your personal brand can grow in equity and market value.
In the ideal scenario, your personal brand will align well with and complement your employer’s brand. They are not and should not be the same brand. You are a unique individual, after all. Ultimately, you own your personal brand. It’s goes with you wherever you go.
Loretta Peters led the 100+ people in the Schmoozers audience through a few exercises to begin the process of unearthing their personal brands.She first explained that your personal brand should reflect the 4 VPs:
- Vision – the problem you want to solve;
- Values – your operational system – how you go about solving problems like that;
- Purpose – the role you play in solving that problem;
- Passion – your motivation or WHY you do what you do. What drives you to want to solve problems like that?
Your top 5 brand attributes and personal brand statement
The first exercise involved reviewing a list of adjectives and selecting five words or core values that best describe your personal brand. Loretta’s master list had 92 words on it, so she suggested that we use a process of elimination. Ultimately, we needed to connect with one word – one thing that we are best known for. Deciding that is not an easy process.
Once we had identified our five brand attributes, Loretta had us write a personal branding statement. This part sounds easy (just writing a sentence about yourself), but it gave me, and most others, a little trouble. I guess that’s why there are expert consultants like Loretta Peters available to help you craft your personal brand. Need help? Contact her at USA (860) 463-1165or visit her web site: http://www.cebranding.com/
How would you describe my personal brand?
I selected the following five attributes to describe my personal brand: energetic, motivating, creative, resourceful and connected.
Other attributes that I felt strongly about that described my personal brand included: thought-provoking, generous, willful, optimistic, enthusiastic, resilient, chatty. (Note: one of my many nicknames is Chatty Kathy)
- I’m curious as to how you perceive my personal brand? What words come to mind? Send me a note at Kathy@MarketingMotivator.net
Helpful web sites
Loretta shared these helpful websites with the Schmoozers job seekers:
- Know your baseline online identity: www.onlineidcalculator.com,
- Discover what others think of you: http://www.reachcc.com/360V4register
- Monthly networking meetings facilitated by Loretta Peters – http://www.cebranding.com/enterprising-careers/execunet/
Applying your personal brand to your job search
The next part of our Schmoozers workshop involved reviewing a list of 32 components of a job search. You can download the list here: ComponentsofaModernDayJobSearch
We broke up into 8 groups and discussed how one might apply one’s personal brand in these elements of the job search process. For example:
- How might you express your personal brand in the various written documents that you send to people you meet in your job search process?
- What opportunities do you have to leverage your personal brand in the on-line documents that are connected to your job search process, such as LinkedIn profile, personal web site and white papers?
- With the multitude of marketing channels and tools available to the individual in a job search, how can your personal brand be expressed in that core activity?
- What about your image? How can you express your personal brand while still showcasing your best professional self? What are the opportunities?
- What can you do from a physical health and mental health point of view to strengthen your personal brand throughout your job search, knowing that the process may take considerably longer than in times past?
- Envision yourself in an actual interview (in person or over telephone). In what ways could you leverage your personal brand while surviving the more challenging interview questions such as ‘what are your greatest weaknesses?’ and the salary negotiation discussion?
- How can you leverage your personal brand when working with recruiters and staffing professionals?
- Networking. How can you showcase your personal brand in the networking process?
Loretta Peters had originally included job boards on this list of job search components, but later removed it. She does not feel that it is where job seekers should their spend time and energy if they are looking for a better job these days. While some people do get lucky with job boards, the majority of job seekers don’t get results from job boards. Loretta feels that you can be more successful using the other more proactive avenues of job search.
- Be sure to download this list of the critical components of your job search: ComponentsofaModernDayJobSearch
Motivating reminders to job seekers
Judy Rosenthal is the fearless and fabulous volunteer leader of the Schmoozers’ job group in Connecticut. Judy reminds job seekers to:
“Do your homework, know thyself and get out from behind your computer. Start networking and make at least 5 appointments a week. That’s the way you are going to land a job!” – Judy Rosenthal
One more illuminating thought on personal branding and job search from Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC and author of personal branding blog:
“The goal of personal branding is to be recruited based on your brand, not applying for jobs.”
Your Networking Goal for This Week
I would like to give you two challenges this week for your networking goal:
1) help someone who is in job transition. Be open to networking with them and assisting them in making the critical connections that could help them land their next job.
2) begin to unearth YOUR personal brand. Even if you think you know it pretty well already, spend a little time to get to know it even more. Decide on your five attributes/core values that best describe your personal brand. Get feedback from people that know you well in your network. Look at how you communicate and market yourself on-line and off-line. Even if you are not currently looking for a new job, you have the opportunity to build a strong personal brand. Make the investment of time, energy and money. It will be well worth your time. Brands have value. Your personal brand has value to your livelihood.