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Creating Your Job Search Brand

Put yourself in the position of a company owner or hiring executive. Assuming equal qualifications, whom would you rather interview? A laid-off worker who has been looking for months or a person who has been providing "sweat equity" work for a start-up. A disgruntled employee for a competitor or someone who has made things happen for a struggling company?

The answer seems obvious to me, but I guess it's not so apparent to the estimated 25 million job seekers in the U.S. In fact, according to the research I recently completed for a new book, 87% of all people looking for that next position, whether currently employed or not, are making some fundamental mistakes in how they present themselves to the marketplace.

So what does brand mean? It's the promise of value to be received. Think about what brand names have done for companies. There aren't too many of us who aren't aware of the Nike name, the logo, or "Just Do It" slogan. Think Starbucks, or Tommy Hilfiger. In each case, you have a pretty good sense of what you will get.

The same is true for people in job search. In this case the product is YOU. Does the hiring company know what value you will bring to them? Are you seen as a "change agent?" An "impact player?" Or do they just know that you have a degree and some solid experience? Most hiring officials told me that a great resume is not enough in this business environment. They now want more than a track record. They want proof you will help move them forward in our change-a-minute climate.

So what can you do to create a positive job search brand? Here are a few ideas that are working in this highly competitive job market:

If unemployed:

If employed:

The key is simple. Just like most products in a saturated market, you must clearly differentiate yourself from the masses. Start by asking those people whom you trust and respect, "What is my job search brand?" If it isn't clear or if it doesn't distinguish you, I suggest you change it.

-Gordon Miller
Gordon Miller is a workplace expert, an executive consultant, and best selling author. He is a Principal with Group 56, LLC.
www.group56.com