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Rock Your Network: Create a Branded Sound Bite

Who are you? What makes you unique among all other job seekers? What transferable skills do you bring to the table that no one else offers? What makes you a star?

Answering these and similar questions can help you identify your personal brand. By knowing who you are, what you want, and what makes you unique, you can clearly communicate your goals and unique value to people in your network and to potential employers.

Your personal brand helps you network without begging. How? Here's an example:

Sheila* is a star programmer/analyst. She is so top notch, she runs all the IT projects for her company, including coordinating with other departments and providing staff training on the new systems.

Unfortunately, Sheila was downsized when her company was purchased and had been out of work for more than a year before coming to me for help. "I asked everyone for a job," she claimed. "I sent out an email to everyone and everything."

The email she sent read something like this, "Hi Everyone, I just got downsized and need a job. Know anyone who's hiring?"

Even if her friends wanted to help her, they could not. She did not tell them what type of position she was looking for, what companies she was targeting or what skills / achievements she could bring to the table.

In addition to revamping Sheila's resume to focus on her personal brand, transferable skills, and achievements, we broadened her network (it's not just who you know, but who they know, and who knows you!), and revamped her verbal sound bites and written communications (including emails) as well.

Her new email--------------------------------------------------

Subject: News Update from Sheila!

Hi Everyone,

I've been working with a career coach to help me get to the next level in my job search - i.e. employment!

I am looking for a project management position with any of the following five companies: Digital Gurus, AMCO, Giant Software, Internet Global, or SoftwareXpress. Do any of you know anyone at these companies who can provide me with more information on the companies' management style, software systems, or other relevant information? I have done some research on my own through The Business Journal and the Internet, but would love the inside scoop. Lunch is on me, by the way, if we can set up a meeting.

For those of you who only know my bowling average, I'd like to share a little information about my most recent project. This will help you better understand what I have to offer a potential employer:

I directed and performed the installation of OS/390 releases and CICS releases, consistently under IBM's end-of-service due dates. Projects included researching and ordering software/hardware and installing, testing, and implementing software releases, with zero downtime to production. I also trained a staff of 20 in release changes and new procedures.

Because of my efforts on this project (and others), my IT Director said in a recent review: "On all system software products, Sheila keeps versions current and is in complete control of testing and implementing new updates. Her thorough testing process has made her implementation record very successful. She is an extremely productive employee who is prompt in completing assignments."

I'm really excited about getting back out there and would love to talk with anyone you know who might have some ideas for me.

Thanks so much for your help! If you or any of your contacts need a copy of my resume forwarded, please let me know. I will do so immediately upon request.




Within 2.5 weeks of her completing our one-month program, Sheila was hired by one of her top targeted companies. The company employed the son of a friend from her bowling league. Before this new email and communications package, her friend had no idea what Sheila really did -- until now.

* Not her real name, nor the company’s real name to protect confidentiality.

- Wendy Terwelp

Wendy Terwelp is a Personal Branding Strategist, Career Coach, and President of Opportunity Knocks™ she has more than 17 years’ experience helping clients land their dream jobs through personal branding, networking, and related career marketing strategies. For more tips to help you with your career search, please visit her award-winning blog:

© 2004- 2007 - Wendy J. Terwelp - Opportunity Knocks - 262.241.4655 -