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Building a Personal Branding Strategy for Today’s Tough Job Market

In the Old West, there was only one way to differentiate between your cattle and the next rancher’s; you branded your cattle with a mark uniquely your own. No matter how far afield your cattle went, they couldn’t be rustled because that brand meant they belonged to you and everybody knew it.

It’s not the Old West, but the idea remains the same; create a unique personal mark, put it on everything you do and no matter where you go or who you talk to, they’ll know who you are and what you stand for. When the plains are crowded with cattle, your brand will stand out.

Brand Yourself Like A Purple Cow

In Seth Godin’s book, “The Purple Cow,” he does a great job of explaining the concept of standing out from the boring sameness we encounter every day. With over 14 million people unemployed in the US, it’s going to take more than a standard resume and a clean suit to get you hired. Like a pasture full of brown, dull cows, you need to be the only purple cow in the field. You need to be the one remarkable candidate. How to achieve remarkable status? Build a personal brand.

If McDonald’s can do it, if Rihanna can do it, if Ford can do it, so can you. You know what they offer, you know what they stand for, and you know they are remarkable. You are remarkable to.

Begin with your personal story. Everyone has one, everyone’s is special. But, while most people don’t consider their lives that interesting, now is the time to invest in a little R&D into your own brand. What values were you taught that you can bring to the job market? Did your mom stress the importance of always being on time? Did your dad teach you to be a team player? Both important assets you bring to a new employer.

Now take that a step further and write down all the other skills you used in school and in previous jobs. Highlight the ones that are the most relevant for today’s job market. Use this as a basis to create a truly remarkable resume.

Build a Better Resume

  • Make the Objective job-specific. If the job is to wash windows, make your objective to work for a company where you can highlight your fantastic skills at window washing.  Now is not the time to be vague.
  • Proofread before showing to anyone. There’s a reason one of the first advancements in computer technology was the spell check button.
  • A lean resume is a healthy resume. Trim the fat, employers don’t want to know about your years spent working at the corner taco stand (unless you’re trying to get another taco stand job.) Post only past jobs relevant to the job you are currently seeking.
  • Keep the hobbies at home. (Unless your hobby pertains to the position you are seeking.)
  • Don’t oversell yourself. Be who you are. If you assisted in a project as the go-fer, don’t imply you were the tech in charge. You may have to prove your claim.
  • Bring on the back-up. Always use the strongest references you can. If you’re friends with someone well-known in their field or you’re next to last employer loved you, don’t be afraid to name drop.

Launch Your Brand into Cyber Space

Social Media Marketing is the greatest phenomenon since the personal computer itself. You can literally reach thousands of people with one post or by “liking” one “friend.” It’s the one greatest opportunity to meet others in your field, create visibility for your brand, and increase your online searchability.

Site Seeing

You can start putting yourself out there with these popular sites:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Blogging-BlogSpot, WordPress, TypePad, Blogger

Just take care to make sure all social networking reflects your personal brand. These sites are blurring the lines between business and personal; don’t get the two confused. Future employers know about these sites as well.

Tell your story, know your audience, differentiate your brand, market wisely-be remarkable– and your personal brand will become your personal success.



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