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Personal Branding for Job Search Candidates

Job Seekers need to convey their "Unique Promise of Value" to potential employers in their quest for a new job

Think about some of the top brands in the world: Coca-Cola, BMW, Volvo, and Starbucks. They use branding principles to establish or maintain a presence in the marketplace. Each promises something uniquely appealing to their particular customers. They have a target market and they know what is important to their audience.

The same marketing principles can be applied when searching for a job. More job seekers are beginning to understand the value of "personal branding" in their job seeking efforts. The only difference from corporate branding is the product; the product is the individual job seeker.

"Job seekers need to discover what unique talents and core values they bring to an employer," stated Kathy Sweeney, Certified Professional Resume Writer and president of The Write Resume in Phoenix, Arizona. "They need to determine specifically what differentiates them from other candidates vying for the same position."

Sweeney says that job seekers need to do research on different companies, to investigate the company's core values, what products or services are offered and the target market segment they serve. This information can be found on most company websites in their "press release" or "about us" sections. Once a job search candidate has this information, they are better able to determine what qualities they possess or specific experience they have that is a good match to a specific company.

Sweeney advises job seekers to take this newly gathered information and formulate stories about specific contributions they have made to their employers. However, she recommends being guarded when providing answers on specific tactics to solve the potential employer's current problems.

"Be cautious about what you share with a prospective employer regarding the contributions you would make to their company," warns Sweeney. "They could take your ideas and utilize them without hiring you. Past performance usually equals future performance, so your previous contributions should be enough for a prospective employer to assess your capabilities."

Sweeney states the key to showcasing your "unique promise of value" to an employer is interviewing well. She says that candidates typically have challenges in formulating stories that truly target the needs of the potential employer.

"When I conduct interview coaching with my clients, I find that they usually have a hard time putting themselves on the 'other side of the desk', the side of the hiring authority. Job seekers have to do that in order to determine what is most important to potential employers," declared Sweeney. "When I teach clients how to answer interview questions, using their experiences to showcase their talents, it helps them to get a better perspective on the needs of the potential employer. They are then able to accurately pinpoint their value as it fits into the company's big picture."

Sweeney concludes that job seekers should do an honest assessment of their strengths. This self analysis is vital, as is pursuing feedback from colleagues, friends and family members. How a job seeker views him/herself might be quite different than the perception of other people. She suggests listening with an open mind to the feedback, weighing it objectively, focusing on strengths and then making the necessary changes to overcome weaknesses.

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