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Emphasizing Your Personal Brand to Stand Out in the Job Market

When entering the job market, you may realize that there are others out there competing for the same positions you are pursuing but think there’s nothing you can do about it.

On the contrary, you have more power than you think to make yourself stand out from the crowd of other job seekers. By emphasizing your personal brand — presenting the unique characteristics and skills that make you an excellent candidate and differentiate you — you can influence how people see you and rise to the top of your target employers’ short list.   

Here are some tips and tactics for packaging your personal brand:

  • Determine your top four or five “talents.” These would be capabilities or characteristics that make you unique but would also translate into value for a prospective employer:
    • Key “hard” skills such as a strong math aptitude, writing prowess or flair for public speaking.
    • Soft skills such as leadership, collaboration or creativity.
    • Passions you have, such as fitness, volunteering, Sudoku or environmental/green causes.
    • Side skills or hobbies such as video editing, graphic design or assembling presentations. (You’ll want to make sure these skills are relevant to the job you’re pursuing.)
    • Unique areas of knowledge such as movie trivia, 19th century history or baseball hall of famers.
  • Determine which of these talents you want to focus on most and prioritize the others. In some situations, for the sake of simplicity and to best help people remember you, you may need to just focus on your top one or two talents.
  • Weave these four/five talents into your resume and cover letters. You can insert them into job descriptions and/or your summary in your resume. You can also create a statement or “elevator pitch” of these talents for your cover letters and for interviewing and networking purposes. By preparing a statement or pitch of your unique talents, you will not only be prepared to tell people about them, you’ll be able to communicate them eloquently.
  • Make sure to highlight your top four/five talents in your online social media profiles as well, as they serve as your “online resume.” You want to convey these talents consistently, so that means including them anywhere a prospective employer is going to find information about you. By taking your social media participation to the next level and engaging in online discussions, you can further communicate your brand and also establish your thought-leadership and the desired public perception.
  • If you like to write, you may even want to consider creating your own website or blog to further solidify your personal brand’s online presence and create an online home base for your personal brand. With blogging, you extend perceptions regarding your knowledge and expertise and validate that you are who you say you are.
  • Create a personal “tag line” that hits on your main talent. It could be descriptive, specific or creative; something like “A marketing consultant helping companies connect with their target customers” or “A business coach helping successful business people be even more successful.” Your tag line can be used at the top of or in the letterhead of your resume and cover letter and in your online profiles.
  • Finally, live your brand! Make sure that in your deeds you are really who you say you are and convey that uniqueness across all your written and online communications.

By developing a strong personal brand, you’ll become more impressive, more memorable and people will form a positive opinion of you – the same result that good branding creates for a product. You just want to make sure that the brand you create is genuine. If you get the job, you want to be able to deliver on what you’ve advertised.

As you can see, branding really just involves preparation and presenting who you are. The better prepared you are to show the world who you are, the more likely the world will see you the way you want them to see you.

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