Written by: Jeff Altman, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
When people go to a store to buy detergent, they never pick up the box or container, flip it over, read the list of ingredients and decide, “Hmm. The interrelationship of the chemicals in this brand will make my laundry cleaner than the ones in this one. Instead, they decide based on the brand, the price, whether they have a coupon, and whether someone told them to buy the particular brand for any or all those reasons. It has nothing to do with the ability of the detergent to clean their laundry better than another one.
This is an example of how branding shapes our decision-making
When it comes to your career and your future, there are no small mistakes. Everything you do has an impact on your career. Whether you realize it or not, you are building a brand for yourself as you go. Everything from what you say to what you wear carries meaning and can either hurt or help your long-term career prospects. If you’re serious about your future and want to stand out from the rest of the competition, then these are a few helpful tips about branding yourself in job interviews and beyond. With commitment, anyone can take steps toward building their personal brand, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to get started, but once you understand what branding means for your career, the world opens up with new opportunities and potential contacts that will be invaluable down the line.
Who knows about you?
The first step to building a positive brand is making sure that the information people see about you is accurate and helpful. When you think about your career, consider the overall impression that people have of you right now. Do they know your name? What kind of work have you done? What do you want them to know about you? What do they know about you that’s true or false? What do they know that helps your career? What do they know that hurts your career? If few people know anything about you, you are invisible. You might not be able to control what others say about you, but you can control and create the information about yourself that’s out there.
Know your audience
When it comes to your career, you need to know your audience. Who do you want to hire you? Who do you want to refer opportunities to you? You need to know where your ideal job can be found, how to be qualified to work there, and how to have people who work there know about you. Whether it’s attending networking events, joining professional groups, or spending time on websites and apps designed to help you connect with potential employers, be in the right places to meet the right people while doing things that will help them get to know, like, trust and respect you. Learn your audience’s perspective. What do they care about? What do they have in common with you? What are their pain points? What would they like to see in a potential employee... like you?
Be mindful of your choices
Build your brand by being mindful of your choices. Don’t just be aware of the things you put out there about yourself; make an effort to be mindful of the choices you make for your career. Maintaining the right appearance and being mindful about where you choose to advertise and promote yourself while ensuring you have the right supporting documents can help make a good first impression. Make sure your documents are clean, error-free, and up-to-date. Make sure your online presence is well-maintained. You don’t want to be the person who doesn’t take care of their image. A sloppy look or sloppy work can leave a bad impression that can be hard to overcome.
Be authentic in everything that you do, and you’ll go a long way to building your brand. After all, what’s the point of branding yourself if you’re not being genuine? Be careful not to misrepresent yourself, and don’t be afraid to tell the truth either. You’re likely to attract employers and clients who resonate with you and your brand if you’re being authentic with them.
Show, don’t just speak, your value by becoming a subject matter expert
It’s not enough to say what you can do for them; you have to demonstrate it. Pick a subject that you’re audience cares about, and use it to demonstrate your value to potential employers and consulting clients. You can demonstrate your value by creating a blog that advises people in your field, publishing articles in trade publications and/or LinkedIn, being interviewed for a podcast, for a YouTube show, or even writing a book. Whatever you do, make sure that you’re showing employers and clients the value you can provide, not just telling them about it. If someone can’t see it, then it’s likely that they won’t believe you, and they won’t contact you, let alone hire you.
Develop a platform for your brand
Build a platform for your brand by creating an online presence. You could start a blog, join an online community, or publish articles on social media. You can also create and manage an online presence by setting up an online resume, joining professional networks, and ensuring that you have a strong and consistent presence on all professional websites where you have an account. What does your online presence say about you? Can potential employers find you online? What do they see when they visit your website or social media pages? Is there information on your site that helps potential employers see how you can benefit them?
Get targeted training and certifications
Build your brand by getting targeted training and certifications that enhance your expertise or fills gaps in your background. What are employers looking for in a hire? Many industries have certification boards that determine what certifications are required at what level. You can use those certification boards to your advantage by researching the certification requirements for the industries you want to work in, then working to get those certifications and putting them on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and website.
Network like crazy
By far, one of the best ways to build your brand and connect with the right people is through networking and elevating your network. There are many networking events and opportunities for you to meet, connect and network with people to make connections that may benefit your career. In addition, you can also network online, in professional groups, and through social media. When you’re networking, make sure that you’re asking questions, not just talking about yourself. You want to make connections with people, and build relationships with them. they see how valuable you can be to them. REMEMBER: Networking goes both ways. Help them while you are promoting yourself.
Branding yourself is not putting together a good resume and LinkedIn profile. Branding yourself is not just showing up to job interviews. It’s about forming connections, providing value, and making sure that you are presenting yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd. Successful branding takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it. If you’re serious about your career, it’s time to get started on building your brand.
Jeff Altman, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, is a career and leadership coach who helps people with their careers, including job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading, and resolving workplace-related issues while being the person they want to be in life. He has written 9 books and guides to job search and hiring, including "The Ultimate Job Interview Framework" and "The Right Answers to Tough Interview Questions." He is the host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio, the #1 podcast in Apple Podcasts for job search with more than 2100 episodes, as well as JobSearchTV.com on YouTube, Amazon, Roku, Apple TV, and 90+ smart sets. Jeff works with clients worldwide and is a popular speaker.