Branding simply means find a hook, a special selling feature, or a memorable association that helps a product stand out in the minds of potential consumers. But the branding tools that work for a product or company can also work for you, and after all, you ARE selling a product to potential employers: Yourself! Try these simple moves to help your name and face leave a lasting impression in the mind of your target audience.
1. Create a value proposition. This is simple statement, ideally less than ten words long, that summarizes everything good that will happen for your potential “buyer” if they decide to choose you. As you draft this statement, you’ll factor in two things: what you have to offer, and what your target audience needs. A car company pitching to an audience of new parents might sell their product by saying “This car will keep you safe”. It’s a short statement that acknowledges what the audience wants most (safety) and what the product will do (provide that safety.) What do you target employers need? What can you do for them that will make their lives easier or their companies more profitable?
2. Find out how others see your offerings. Once you have a value proposition written out, you’ll need to determine how others would phrase that proposition. Their assessment may differ from yours, but both are important to your branding efforts. For example, you may think you’re one of the best hitters on the baseball team, or the fastest runner. But your teammates may value you more for your enthusiasm, your catching skill, or your determination.
3. Choose a color that represents you. Most of us carry the following cultural associations with different colors: Red often represents passion and dedication, Blue suggests calm and rationality, green suggests creativity, yellow suggests a positive and sunny outlook, and purple suggests dignity and poise. Which of these associations would you like to attach to your personal brand?
4. Once you’ve settled on a color, try to envision that color and work it into every part of your portfolio that your employers will see. Think about it as you complete your resume summary, your cover letter, and your professional online profiles. You can even work it into the outfit you wear to your interviews. You may possess all of these character traits at different times (most of us do), but if you had to simplify the most important elements of your professional personality, which color would best represent them?
Remember: the most important tool for any branding project is simplicity. Simplify your messages in order to make them clearer, sharper, more memorable, and more effective. The NC job search and employment experts at PSU can help. Reach out to our office for more easy ways to create a lasting impact.