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July 14, 2008

The Product You – Develop Your Personal Brand

 

Career Pro of NC, Inc.
Executive Outplacement & Career Transition

HOW TO CREATE A PERSONAL BRAND
Stand Out from the Crowd by Marketing YOU!

Today, the job market is tight. Layoffs are spreading across the country. Competition from overseas is fierce. Getting ahead in your company, in your industry seems a steeper climb than it did even a few years ago. You have to figure out a way to stand out. How can you get noticed? Learn from the big companies. Market the product you know best. Learn to sell YOU!

By borrowing some marketing and sales concepts from the business world, you will give yourself an edge over your competition. How? By creating your own personal brand.

It’s true. You don’t have a huge marketing department, nor do you have a big sales team like successful companies like SAS Institute, IBM Corporation, Google.com, Bank of America. But, you can borrow the concepts they use to market their products and services.

Sounds odd, right. You are not a service. You are not a product. Even if you don’t think you have something to sell, trust me, you do.

What is a resume? Isn’t a resume just a very text-heavy advertisement? Isn’t it just a flyer about YOU? On some level you understand that creating a resume or doing a job interview is a form of marketing.

Today, you can’t get away with a mere paper resume anymore. Forget the tired concept of the old cream-colored, paper resume that merely states your skills and past jobs and lists accomplishments. How boring.

In today’s job market, you still need to develop a dynamic, visually appealing resume to hand out for job interviews or job fairs. But,

You also need to consider how to also leverage online tools and techniques to sell yourself. Create your personal brand. (In my next blog posting we will discuss in greater detail how to leverage online tools to create your personal brand). First, we need to define your personal brand.

How To Create a Personal Brand?

Toothpaste is toothpaste, right? Not so! Project managers, sales people, executives, techies are not created equal either.

Brainstorm about all your specific talents, experience, and skills you bring to the table. Think about the impact you have had. What impact did you have? What difference did you make?

How did your combination of skills and experience add value to your company? How can you make a potential employer.s life easier. Examine how you are going to benefit the consumer/boss. What problem have you solved for your company? How specifically will you be making your boss’s life easier?

You may not even be aware of some the benefits you can provide your customer until you start brainstorming. Here are some examples:

You are fluent in Spanish and, although you are an engineer, you were able to help develop some of the Spanish marketing collateral for a new product line.
-You are software developer that knows multiple programming languages.
-You have often been selected to work on projects over others because, unlike others, you can explain very technical information to non-techies.
-You are a program manager that is especially skilled at public speaking.

Think of highly desired skills that not everyone has.

For example, the value you bring to the company is that in addition to doing technical work you can also be called upon to be a liaison to the non-technical inside, or even outside, the company. You are comfortable briefing the non-technical vice president about a highly technical issue and make it make sense. Many program managers know how to create a PowerPoint or Keynote slide show, but you actually know how to keep your audience engaged. You give yourself the edge over another program manager who would prefer a root canal to giving a talk at the next trade show.

At first, the things that differentiate you may not seem obvious. However,
Just like the big corporations: Do a little market research. Start by brainstorming. Brainstorm with colleagues. Create lists. Talk to Peers, Bosses, Customers – this is your market research. Set aside some time to do this. Start with these questions:

– What are your unique qualifications, skills and experience? (These are as the features of your product).
– What makes you different? What can you offer that others can’t? (What makes you stand out).
– What are your accomplishments? (What problems did you solve for your boss, your company)?

By stepping back and looking at yourself as a product (a talented, multifaceted product no doubt) to be marketed and sold will allow you to see all the knowledge, skills and experience you possess in a new light.

As Tom Peters said in his book The Brand You 50 Or: Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an Employee into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion!
Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc.

Peters also states, You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description. Well, if you do not take ownership of your personal brand and the business of your career you may be overlooked like a old cream-colored, paper resume.

One Response to “The Product You – Develop Your Personal Brand”

  1. December 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm, Dave Baldwin said:

    I’ve been saying for awhile now, that every college student should have to spend at least one summer doing sales as a requirement for graduation. I think that part of the reason so many people struggle in the job search is the fact that they have little or no grounding in sales. I found that the confidence I gained from my first sales job made the job interview process a lot easier.

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