Thursday, January 7, 2010

Are You a Prius or Great Cup of Coffee?

Most job seekers do not realize the vital importance of establishing, maintaining and promoting their unique personal brand. Generally speaking, creating or updating a resume and developing a list of desired open jobs becomes a time specific activity because most people engage in these activities only when they are seeking a new opportunity.

But a personal brand is more broad, and arguably, more important than just posting your resume on a job board. Your brand is what is communicated to fellow colleagues, references, network contacts, industry thought leaders and hiring managers. Effective development and promotion of your brand ensures that you are conveying a clear and accurate message about the kind of expert you are and the type of value you may offer.

No two people are alike, share the same expertise or have the exact same set of experiences. Your personal brand is more than just an advertisement for the kind of job you are looking for. You are your own “product”. You must start to think in terms of the most popular products, services or celebrities and learn how they manage their image and create a “call to action”. An effective personal brand will ensure that you are marketing and representing yourself in a manner that is clear, concise and appeals to the desired audience. Your brand should create a call-to-action, which is interest in your background to interview or to service potential clients.

For example, when you drive down the expressway and see a billboard for a Toyota Prius, not only do you immediately recognize it because of the Toyota logo but you garner a lot of information about that product. You know it is a Hybrid, that it offers exceptional gas mileage and that it has a reputation for quality. And you know all that in less than 8 seconds as you drive by! Additionally, customers feel confident recommending the product to others. You want contacts to refer you and your background to the right people.

Seeing an image of an apple with a bite out of it, you know immediately its Apple. When you hear the phrase “Good To The Last Drop” you can visualize the blue Maxwell House coffee can. Seeing a picture of Will Farrell or Adam Sandler, it evokes thoughts of laughter and comedic movies, the Dalai Lama congers feelings of peace and non-violence. Effective brands and personal images tell the world large amounts of information about the product with simple, consistent and repeatable statements.

Try these 10 Steps to create, manage and promote your own personal brand.

1. Create a Blog to illustrate your expertise and gain credibility as a thought leader in your industry. Start a free blog at: or

2. Create an Online and Interactive Web-Based Resume that will differentiate you from the mountain of other candidates. It offers employers and recruiters a unique, professional and cutting edge view of you as a professional. Visit:

3. Join Industry Specific Groups on LinkedIn and answer discussion questions and post new questions to the groups. Every time you post something and add your knowledge and expertise, you want it to be visible and marketable. It increases your credibility and identification as a thought leader.

4. Create a “Brag Book” or portfolio of your background, accomplishments, awards and completed projects. This creates a tangible and visual aid to bring to interviews as well as to gain prospective clients if you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Portfolios and brag books are not simply for sales professionals or artists.

5. Join Your University Alumni Network Group. This fosters electronic exchange of contact information, industry experience and strengthens your network presence and thought leadership.

6. Volunteer time with Well-Respected Not For Profit Group. This exposes you to individuals from all industries and backgrounds and grows your network exponentially.

7. Research Your Industry’s Specific Trade Journals, Websites and Publications and Offer to Write an Article or White Paper. This shows your motivation to promote your thought leadership. This is very attractive to potential employers to see the depth of your knowledge.

8. Create personalized Business cards for yourself and your functional expertise. Visit for nice, efficient and inexpensive business card development and printing.

9. Research the companies and experience of at least five (5) of your LinkedIn contacts per month and Offer to Help them in some way. The connection is free but it establishes dialogue and rapport that may lead to future business or job opportunities.

10. Create an effective “15-Second Pitch” to describe yourself and your expertise.
You will use this standard pitch when meeting prospective employers, network contacts or even at a cocktail party. It is easy and memorable and helps people pass on the word about you. Visit Use

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