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The Write Resume In The News

Create your personal brand, then learn to sell it

By 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, she said.

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."

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