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Landing Yourself a Great Job

When you’re in Human Resources, everyone thinks you know everything there is to know about getting hired. Truth is, most HR folks stumble when implementing their own self-marketing. Having coached numerous HR folks in the last year, I know that they, just like you need strategic advice on selling yourself to an employer.

If a potential manager asked you what you are excellent at doing, could you quickly state what your key strengths are? Do you know what your career identity is? Not your job title, but your CAREER IDENTITY, that unique reputation you have amongst bosses, colleagues, and other employees?

If you don’t have an immediate answer, you are not alone. Most people haven’t given much thought to how they are viewed at work. But they need to if they wish to become the best they can be and get more joy from the job, greater rewards and personal satisfaction.

A job title is a title but it is NOT who you are when we refer to your personal career identity. Your career identity is your professional reputation, and it is also known as your “personal brand.” It reflects other people’s opinion of you as a worker, the associations they make when they think about you, and what you do or don’t do well. Your “personal brand,” which I refer to as Brand You, communicates your career identity to the world.

In the years ahead, you must define and promote your personal brand in order to keep your career vibrant and to distinguish yourself in the workplace. Through personal branding you set yourself apart by emphasizing your personal talents in a way that showcases what is distinctive about you. You develop a mark of excellence that reflects your own unique talents and abilities in the tasks or activities you do best. People who display a great personal brand find it is the very reason for their success. Others will never advance until they learn how to hone and develop the best part of themselves – their natural gifts. To move ahead try implementing these success strategies:

• Define your personal brand. Most people haven’t defined “Brand You” which gives you a step up if you do. In a similar way that a company creates a brand name for a product, you must create a name for the product that is YOU. Identify your key strengths, your passions, personality traits and define which talents you’ve turned into core competencies that are recognized and respected by your peers and employers.

• Have a resume touting results achieved. Incorporate your strengths, accomplishments and the positive outcomes you’ve delivered. Your concise resume needs to scream actions = results. Use action verbs (like directed, created, spearheaded, implemented) show you’re a take-charge, get-the-job-done kind of person. General, boring job descriptions are ineffective – defining how you’ve saved time, increased productivity, cut costs and added to the bottomline work like a charm.

• Network!!! Many people admit they are fairly introverted when it comes to branching out and meeting new people. Yet, 63% of all jobs are found through contacts. Networking is THE Way you’ll land the best job. Colleagues can pass on leads and introductions. Use your LinkedIn connections to get jump-started. Join and attend professional meetings, making an effort to meet two people to add to your network. Ask others if they know any one working in a company you have an interest in – that’s the best way to get your resume and yourself in front of the hiring manager.

• Hit the interview running. It’s vital to immediately address the top strengths you have to offer, display enthusiasm for the job, show you have the potential to learn, grow and produce for them. Start the interview in the best possible way: when the interviewer asks the, ‘Tell me about yourself’ question, forget an autobiography. Use the 60 Second Sell. This technique has you analyze the job duties the employer wants accomplished, then select your top five selling points — your strongest abilities, experience and skills (AKA your personal brand), to do the job. Link these five points together in a few sentences and you’ve created a ‘verbal business card’ that is the most effective way to begin and to close the interview. Keep the momentum going with good, prepared answers to questions and practice! It’s wise to pre-determine a few stories to tell that are examples of your past performance for any situational questions that come up.

• Dress like a winner. Arriving at an interview too casual is unprofessional, but a mistake many people are making, HR Directors are reporting. Think about how you look. Healthy? Fit? Ready to take on the next challenge? Do you need a more contemporary look and makeover? A nice suit is ideal and it must fit well. Even though some workplaces are very informal, do not dress too causally. You need to “look” like a person who is viewed as the “promotable” type, and would fit in nicely with the image the company wants to portray. A big smile on your face is your most important asset; use it often.

• Negotiate the salary. The biggest salary increases are the result of negotiating with the new employer. Know exactly what your skills are worth in the marketplace so you do not undersell yourself. Never mention money until the position is offered and the interviewer has mentioned salary. This is one time to ask if the employer can do better. This simple question, with a few reinforcing comments about Brand You, has resulted in an instant increase for our clients.

Opportunity abounds! Now IS the perfect time to take closer look at the terrific person you are, identify and broadcast your individual gifts, and land a new job and/or promotion.

Robin Ryan, www.robinryan.com