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You Are Your Brand....Personal Branding Orange County
What is personal branding?
Personal branding describes the process by which you stand out from a crowd of job seekers by differentiating yourself from others with the same skills and abilities. There are three elements that your brand should focus on:
* Value proposition: Your value proposition means what you stand for, in terms of your personality, appearance, competencies, and strengths. It’s everything you provide as a person that may fulfill a specific job description.
* Differentiation: Differentiation is what makes you distinct from the crowd of job seekers.
* Marketability: Marketability is how compelling your brand is to potential employers. It’s what will make them to want to hire you or open up a new opportunity for you.
It’s never too early to begin building a personal, professional brand—and the earlier you begin in your college career, the more weight it will carry.
Why is branding important?
According to a recent survey, 51 percent of soon-to-be-graduates who applied for a full-time position had landed one before graduation. That means that 49 percent had the “dreaded” recruitment process to go through.
If you’re one of that 49 percent, in order to face this immense competition, you must unearth your strengths and become a better marketer. That means you need to create a distinct personal brand, something that highlights your unique attributes.
At this time, you may be unsure exactly what you want to do when you graduate, in terms of a specific career path. You may feel frustrated that you have to apply to multiple companies, without knowing who will offer you a job first. By using personal branding, you can showcase your unique value proposition and claim the job you desire, while gaining confidence in the process.
(You can ask the staff at your college career center for help with the following steps.)
1. Discover what you’re interested in or passionate about, and your goals. Review all your previous accomplishments, work experience, and education, and determine how it may be leading to a profession. Use this information to a set development plan to reach your goals and claim that entry-level position after graduation.
2. Create the marketing materials used to communicate to employers: a resume, cover letter, references document, web site, blog, or work portfolio. A blog, for example, allows you to showcase your writing style, ability, and creativity. Comments you post on other blogs showcase your interpersonal skills. Look for ways to communicate your unique value statement to recruiters
3. Enhance your resume through personal branding, using visual elements and career-related keywords to let the “recruiting search bots” pick up your resume faster.
4. Develop a web site containing your resume and related projects that you’ve completed.
5. Create a blog where you can engage and network with others that are interested in a subject that you enjoy.
6. Display your brand in online form using such mechanisms as a professional profile—an electronic form of your resume—on a professional networking site. Create case histories or a portfolio so that you can have credibility with employers or web site viewers.
7. Use e-mail to your advantage to convey a consistent professional brand. Instead of using some nickname, use your own name, so when people are looking for your address, it becomes top-of-mind.
8. Finally, continue to grow your brand, while updating your marketing materials to reflect your personal and professional growth.
If you are a freshman in college, you have plenty of time to discover your brand, but if you are a senior, you may want to do a quick brand assessment and start creating your brand materials.
Brainstorm a list of your passions, interests, and goals, so that you can match them to a specific job function or title. This exercise may be completed solely by you, but don’t be afraid to ask for help from a teacher or adviser. Review your current resume, along with all supporting materials, and see if they align with your goals and aspirations
Ask for feedback from family members, peers, professors, career center staff, and other professionals. Personal branding is how you’re perceived by others, so take this feedback into account when developing your brand.
Always look forward to your career. Anyone can be successful if they believe in themselves and are driven.