|CAREERS NOW 07-06-09|
|Personal Branding For the Little Guy|
DEAR JOYCE: In fighting my way through this very difficult employment scene
(four months), I went to a job buddies meeting where I heard the suggestion that I write a personal branding statement
and include it in my resume at the top. Now, I understand how Tiger Woods' brand is golf excellence and Angelina
Jolie's brand is movie stardom, but what about mere mortals who can't make such distinctive claims? Advice? - G.L.O.
It's a challenge. Your personal brand is your professional reputation - what you're known for (or would like to be known for). When your rep is a good one, it includes being distinguished by positive characteristics and achievements - saleable distinctions in the marketplace.
Joe Turner in Phoenix is a former recruiter whose own brand is the"Job Search Guy" and Sue Swenson, his wife, is also a former recruiter. Turner and Swenson dive straight into the thicket of how you can find your personal brand of sales message in their unusually helpful and straight-talking new book, " Paycheck 911: Don't Panic ... Power Your Job Search!" (Paycheck911.com). Here are excerpts of what the authors advise:
Make or save money. All employees are accountable to the bottom line, whether your job is to answer phones, provide customer support, write software code, drive a truck, train new employees, balance the books, test the products or manage workers. Your job may involve saving time for others in the company, thus you save money so the company can invest to make more money elsewhere. Example: Administrative assistants who routinely run interference for their bosses, sparing them mundane minutia each day, save their company money. Start crafting your personal brand by deciding whether you made money or saved the company money or time.
Developing your brand identity. After deciding whether you're a maker or a saver, communicate who you are to a wider audience to quickly distinguish yourself and generate interest. Tip: A walk down the supermarket cereal aisle reveals product positioning statements for branding purposes. Wheaties' "Breakfast of Champions" is an example.
What do branding slogans have to do with job search? Everything! Most job seekers give scant thought to how they are perceived in the bigger world, or how they compare to hundreds of competitors. They address only their own skills, which is like saying that Wheaties is made from whole wheat. So what!
Most resumes claim: "I have the skills; I'm a good, smart person and I'll work really hard for you." That approach describes you and about 2,000 other applicants. Skills aren't enough these days because they're just a feature of what you offer. What you really need to promote are benefits.
Packaging examples. Turner and Swenson take you through a clearly-stated process to help you discover your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP describes the single most unique benefit or value that you offer to an employer - basically a 20-second commercial about yourself. Your USP can be used in interviews and networking meetings and is what will get you remembered. A few of the book's many examples:
-- I'm a seasoned administrative assistant whose specialty is client-phone relationship building, creating a solid bond with our clients that strengthens the sales link with my company.
-- I am a safety coordinator with a strength in training and program implementation that helped reduce workers' compensation claims by 37 percent over a four-year period for my current employer.
-- I have a strength in developing employee referral programs that resulted in three quality hires in six months that saved my employer $90,000 in extra hiring costs.
"Paycheck 911: Don't Panic ... Power Your Job Search!" is the right book for people whose career push has come to shove. I highly recommend this 174-page guide because its authors are spot on with late-model job search advice presented in an easy-reading style. In today's tough economy especially, use its no-nonsense tutoring to get back on a payroll.
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