Your personal brand is what people think of when they hear your name. It is what people are saying about you behind your back (both good and bad). Your brand is also how you market yourself to companies. If you were a product someone was leaving a review on, it might go something like, “Excellent communicator, but poor time management. Three out of five stars.” That is all a part of your personal brand. But how does it come to play in your job search?
When looking for your next job, you may want to utilize your personal brand to better match a position. Whether it be on your social media profiles, a resume, or a cover letter, you should try to incorporate your brand somewhere. Tell companies who you are, what you do, and what you’ve accomplished. Include your greatest characteristics, such as loyal, organized, empathetic, or communicative. Your goal is to summarize who you are in two to three sentences. You are presenting who you are and essentially trying to “sell” yourself and your brand. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t buy a carpet cleaner if the description said it “does a pretty good job at cleaning.” No, for me to buy something, it has to convince me it’s going to do an amazing job. “Battles tough stains and destroys bad odor” may work better for a carpet cleaner. Don’t be a “just okay” employee--make sure your branding reflects how awesome you are.
Figuring out what your personal brand is can be useful to you in your initial job search. You want to apply to companies that fall in line with your branding, as not only will you be more comfortable there, but you also may have a better chance of getting hired. If a job description is calling for a strong communicator that can present with the best of them, it might not be a good fit if you’re an introverted, desk-work kind of person. And applying anyway, despite it not matching your brand, could lead to you not getting hired or (perhaps worse) getting hired and being miserable in a position that goes against who you are.
Your personal brand will also matter to the companies you are applying to. Having a clear branding statement can give an employer a glimpse into who you are as a worker, rather than just what you’ve achieved. It can also help them determine if you’re the best fit for the position. If a company prides itself on its laidback atmosphere, it may not relate to someone who values strict professionalism. The same can be said the other way around, of course. And relating is what branding is all about—your brand shows who you are as an employee, and it can be used to show how you relate with the world and your employer.
A personal brand can make or break your job search and application—so it’s time to hit the drawing board and figure out what your brand is.