Michelle Reese, Tribune, April 3, 2005
Do you know what your strengths, values and core
skills are? What image do you portray to others?
This knowledge may be key to finding your next
job, according to career experts.
Personal branding - making a name for yourself
in an interview or in the business world - can make the difference
between you and the another job- or promotion candidate, said Kathy
Sweeney, owner of The Write Resume in Chandler and a professional
resume writer and career coach.
"Think about some of the top brands in the world:
Coca Cola, BMW, Volvo and Starbucks. Each promises something unique
to their particular customers. They have a target market and they
know what is important to that target market," Sweeney said. "The
same should be true when you are searching for a job. You are marketing
a product and that product is you. But what do you bring to an employer
that is unique from other candidates vying for the same position?"
Research is vital to this step in the job search,
Sweeney said. By discovering more information about a company's
product, services and core values, you can highlight your abilities
that match those during talks with potential employers or bosses.
Examine a company's Web site or press releases to learn more.
"Once you have this information, you need to
determine what qualities you possess that relate to their core values
or specific experience that is a good match to their business. Take
your newly gathered information and formulate stories about specific
contributions you have made to your current employer," Sweeney said.
But be cautious not to share too many details
that might be used by a hiring company without actually hiring you,
To help establish yourself above your competition,
especially during a job interview, it's important to show what you
can bring to a company, said Donna Tucker, professional resume writer
and owner of CareerPRO Resume Center in Phoenix. As a job candidate,
you could write a marketing plan to market yourself. This may include
highlights of your career, Tucker said.
"What have you done that is remarkable? What
do you do that brings measurable value? What have you accomplished
that you can justifiably brag about?" she said. "Develop a marketing
plan for the brand 'you' with strategies to boost you to the next
level. Expand your network, volunteer for special projects, participate
in professional development opportunities. Become a leader of your
peers - get noticed and get ahead."
Pamela Roe Ehlers, vice president with American
Career Executives, said how you present yourself in an interview
can also add to the image you portray. Just as companies work to
project a message through branding and appearance of their company,
they will look to employees to mirror what they're hoping to convey
to the public, she said.
"They realize that the image they project is
a message. And, that message is tied to building credibility, or
detracting from it," she said.
Your appearance in an interview can help establish
the message you as a future employee are creating, Ehlers said.
First impressions are most important. It's important to pay attention
to the details: from grooming to dress, as well as your clothing.
Ehlers suggests dressing for the career you desire, "even if it
is several salary grades above where you are.
When planning to enter a profession, take time
to research how people dress in specific industries and roles."
Details, from nails to hair and makeup, need to be polished and
conservative. And remember Mom's advice, Ehlers said. "Stand up
straight - don't slouch. Smile, even when you are on the phone.
Convey vitality, energy and interest in others through voice and
motion. Wear a positive attitude, and display good manners and courtesy."