Personal Branding 101
Many job descriptions create fairly rigid boxes where you either fit or you don’t. But, most career histories don’t fit neatly into a box. Using personal branding can help bridge that gap and showcase more of who you are as a person.
What is Personal Branding?
Your ‘personal brand’ is how you want others to see you. It’s how you market yourself for the job hunt and it’s what differentiates you from your competitors. Your unique blend of experiences, attributes, passions, strengths, and qualifications are what make your brand.
Get Started on Creating your Personal Brand
- Research. Make sure you understand the typical requirements of the roles you’re interested in, including soft skills, and how those requirements differ between industries or company size.
- Define your audience. Like with any good marketing, your audience should be clearly defined and narrowed. This may mean tailoring your resume to better fit the type of work you want.
- Identify your success stories. These don’t have to be limited to business, although that is ideal. Focus on areas where you improved processes, saved money, or won awards. When possible, quantify your accomplishments. Think of examples that back up your soft skills.
- Find what separates you from the pack. Are you a tech person who communicates well? Or, alternatively, a creative who speaks tech? Do your passions or interests coincide with the role in some way? Communicate it!
Don’t worry if your brainstorming yields more than should go on your resume. This will allow you to pick and choose between what works best for the role.
Integrating your personal brand into your resume
Now that you’ve figured out your brand, it’s time to get it into your resume! Your personal brand packs the most punch in the first third to half of your resume. This is the key area where hiring managers decide to keep reading or move on to the next candidate.
Create a three to five sentence professional summary that captures your brand and aligns to the role. This should be a succinct paragraph at the top of your resume that ties your relevant expertise, experience, and differentiators together. If you are short on space, try a banner headline summarizing role titles most applicable to you that relates to the job you’re applying for.
Include a link to your portfolio, website, or LinkedIn profile that is easy to see. These are other core elements to your brand that you don’t want overlooked.
Make sure your accomplishments make it into your resume. If some achievements didn’t make the cut in your professional summary, you can include them under their respective job.
Use your resume’s formatting and overall design to reflect your brand. This can be highly dependent on profession – A graphic or UX/UI designer should take the opportunity to showcase their abilities while no one expects a data analyst to have a resume created in Adobe Illustrator. Alternatively, a web copywriter might want to mimic the clean, fresh style and format of their target client audience.
Whether you’re showing off design expertise or not, keep the style simple and clean. Your main goal is always to keep the hiring manager reading, so make it easy for them!
Remember that your resume is just the first step in your personal branding for the job hunt. Businesses don’t just have one piece of marketing material and neither should you. Your chosen branding should be consistent across your resume, LinkedIn, and your website or portfolio.
If you’ve mastered the basics and are ready to kick your personal branding up a notch, find out how to brand beyond your resume here!
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