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?”
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 and 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 are
youthe 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 a 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 for...”
Third, what are your strengths? These skills can be viewed as
transferable—you can take them with you to any job you
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 whole
picture. 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
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 are you 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 to
chaos? 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 memorable.