Your Personalized Branding for the Job InterviewBy Carole Martin
If you have been reading articles or listening to news reports
about the job market, you are aware that you are in a tough job
market and that you will have to do something to make yourself
stand out from the rest of the crowd.
You realize that you are competing against the odds. The
question is, "How can you make yourself stand out when there are
so many other candidates looking at the same job?"
The answer is to "BRAND YOURSELF."
What this means is you have to discover WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE.
Let's assume that you have an outstanding resume and that you
make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be
called for an interview. You, and maybe nine or ten other
equally qualified people for the position, that is.
Because companies have so many candidates to choose from they
are interviewing more people so that they can select the "best."
When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview it is
essential that you be ready to sell yourself - to let the
interviewer know what makes you unique – what makes you a
"remembered" person -- what added value you can bring to the
position—in other words, why you are the best person for the
job? Your goal is to leave behind an impression of your "brand."
By doing some basic preparation, you can determine your
uniqueness and where you should focus your attention. The first
step in this process is to identify your five areas of strength.
These strengths are the areas where you do very well. This will
take some work and some thought on your part.
"What is your area of expertise?"
"What are your strengths?"
"What is your work ethic?"
"What would your co-workers or former bosses say about you?"
Think about previous performance appraisals – what was
said/written about you?
In order to help you through this process here is Branding
Exercise that will help you get started.
Use whatever application works best for you to do this exercise
– paper/pencil, spreadsheet, word document – the point is to get
it down in writing. ("Winging" it does not work when
interviewing in this environment)
• First, write your education, training, certifications and
years of experience.
List degrees, special training, certifications, overall years
of experience, years in a particular type of position or
specialty . • Next, what is your area of expertise? What do you
know a great deal about?
"My expertise is in …in my capacity I handle all ……I have
worked on $..projects, deals….I am fluent in …..broad range of
experiences in ….including analyzing …evaluating ….I am
knowledgeable about …. I use this knowledge to … I also have a
strong sense ….."
• Third, what are your strengths?
These skills can be viewed as transferable– you can take them
with you to any job you hold.
This is how you excel in being the type of person or employee
who has what it takes to get the job done. These skills are
sometimes referred to as the "soft skills" – but there is
nothing soft about these skills when it comes to putting your
"brand" together. You want a good clear image of yourself - the
Examples of these skills are your communication and people
skills, or your time-management and project-management skills,
or your ability to build strong relationships or your ability to
• Fourth, what does your past say about you?
This is a good place to think about your work ethic, loyalty,
integrity, and overall disposition in the office. Do you get
along well with most coworkers? . Think about previous
performance appraisals – what was said or written about you?
What would your co-workers or ex-bosses say about you?
• Lastly, think of the personal traits that make you unique.
Maybe you never miss deadlines, or perhaps you are willing to
do above and beyond what is asked, or perhaps you have a great
attitude. Sometimes letting the interviewer know that you have a
great sense of humor that helps lighten the environment –
especially during tense situations is appropriate. All these
things make you the person that you are – a unique "brand" of a
person. (Don't dismiss these traits--many people have been fired
for negative personal traits rather than for lack of knowledge).
When you have identified your five unique areas, try your hand
at writing yourself a "commercial" or statement about yourself,
incorporating this information into your statement. This is
where you "brand" yourself into a product that is better than
the others; someone who leaves an impression behind.
What is the impression you want to leave behind? The guy who
wore the funny looking tie? Or the woman who is known for her
organizational skill and her ability to come in and bring order
In summary, by narrowing your uniqueness – by branding yourself
into these five basic points you can guide the conversation to
include this information. By focusing on five areas of strength,
you will become more focused and feel more confident and in turn
become more "remembered."