Over the years, I’ve developed brand guidelines for quite a number of organizations, including more than a few Fortune 500 companies. And every time I’d present a new or refined brand platform to C-suite executives and boards of directors, I’d share some variation on this language:
Our brand is formed with every single interaction an individual or group has with our company. And every one of these interactions is an opportunity to win over a customer. Whether it’s a landing page, a direct mail package, a phone call, a letter, a billboard, a social media post or even a 404-error message. In short, our brand is a multifaceted experience that can nurture trust, loyalty and good will among all who do business with us—but only when it is applied faithfully and consistently.
The thing is, as true as this statement is for billion-dollar multinational corporations, it’s also perfectly relevant to an individual who’s merely looking for a new job. In other words, YOUR BRAND MATTERS! And if you want to be as successful as you can be in pursuing a career that makes you truly happy, developing and nurturing your professional brand is essential.
Why do you need a professional brand?
First of all, if you’re thinking that a brand is nothing more than a logo, a color palette and maybe a typeface, it’s time to revise your thinking. A brand is reflected in everything associated with you. How you talk about yourself, how you express your talents, the way you answer questions in an interview… even your facial expressions. The bottom line is YOU are your brand and your BRAND IS YOU! And the more control you have over key aspects of your brand, the more likely you’ll be able to achieve your career goals.
Your brand needs to be relevant to your profession and your goals.
Let’s look at a simplified example. Here are two job candidates applying for the same position as an actuary with a major insurance company.
Who would you be more likely to hire based on their “visual brand”? James certainly looks the part. And Chris? Well, let’s just say his presentation suggests a potential lack of fit for the corporate culture of a buttoned-up insurance company.
But, what if the same two candidates were up for a creative director job at a trendy advertising agency? Suddenly, Chris has a far more appealing “visual brand.”
Needless to say, your brand goes far beyond how you dress. But it can be just as deliberate a decision to design your professional brand as it can be to choose a t-shirt over a suit.
What makes up your professional brand?
Developing your professional brand starts by understanding who you really are, aligning it with what you really want to do, and then using this information to portray your genuine self in a high-impact way. Your brand is not just spin, but actually optimizing what is already true—your skills, talents and values—translating it into an unforgettable impression.
When you work with Mach10 Career Coaching, we’ll help you create or enhance your professional brand with all the assets you need:
- Skills Statement & Personalized Value Proposition—These provide you with a guide for talking about your skills and experience in a compelling and consistent way. Think of it as your elevator pitch.
- Resume Design—The sum impression your resume makes goes beyond the words you use. Not only will we help you articulate your unique skills and passions, we’ll help you present them in a high-impact, memorable way.
- Clutter-Busting Cover Letter—Make your cover letter stand out from the crowd, motivate hiring managers to review your resume and highlight why you’re the right person for the job.
- Video Cover Letter—Want to really make a splash? A video cover letter can give you the opportunity to give hiring managers a great impression they won’t soon forget.
- LinkedIn Profile Optimization—We help make sure the right recruiters will find you when they search and will be compelled to move you to the next step.
- Digital Portfolio—An attention-grabbing digital portfolio will ensure a recruiter or hiring manager sees all of your work in a memorable, elegantly designed format.
- Networking Training—Understand how to initiate and cultivate valuable relationships to learn about jobs and career paths and expand your access to job opportunities.
- Interview Training—Anticipate questions, know what research to conduct and sharpen how you present yourself, using your Value Proposition as a foundation.
Ready to work on your professional brand? Schedule a free conversation to get started.
Rob Vlock is a co-founder of Mach10 Career Coaching. He can be reached at email@example.com. Or just visit the web site at http://www.mach10career.com and make an appointment to talk.