If you’re reaching the point in your Carrington College program where you’re starting to think about how to get the first job in your new career, or if you’ve graduated and are looking to move to the next level, it’s time to start working on your own brand.
What is a Brand?
Brands were first used on cattle as a mark of ownership. Later, brands became a mark of quality; vineyards would burn their distinctive mark on to wooden crates to identify their fine wines. Over the years the idea of brands evolved, especially once advertisers and organizations started to market them to the public. The role of a brand is to make certain products more desirable than others.
But what is a brand? At the very simplest level, a brand is a reputation. Why do you buy one brand of jeans or sneakers, instead of the store’s own cheaper version? Because you’re buying into the reputation of the brand, and maybe because you think wearing that brand name will enhance your own reputation.
So when I talk about building your own personal brand, I’m really talking about building your reputation. In a crowded job marketplace, you need something to separate you from the competition. You need something that makes you stand out from the crowd of résumés, and enhances your reputation.
David Beckham was never the world’s greatest soccer player…but he is arguably one of the world’s biggest personal brands. Even if you’re not a soccer fan, you’ve probably heard of Beckham. Although a good player, he (and his advisors) built a brand that elevated peoples’ perception of him, and that perception continues to make him money long after his soccer career has ended.
How to Stand Out? Act Like a Brand
Marketing people suggest that products exist to expand choice, while brands exist to simplify choice. What I’m suggesting is that if you act and behave like a brand during the recruitment process, that can help simplify a recruiter’s choice (to pick yours out) when they look through résumés. The chances are good that the other applicants will be acting like products. Here are six tips to help you act like a brand:
- From consistency, brands evolve. Always be consistent in what you do and how you do it. If you’re volunteering somewhere to get extra experience for your résumé, be as timely and professional as if it were a job. Keep your standards high, and never waver.
- Brands target the people most likely to buy. That’s why you see certain ads during certain types of TV show. Learn from that, and target your résumé to the potential employer you’re sending it to. Highlight your experience and knowledge that is particular to that office or field. Do your own research (brands do) and focus on your attributes that will be most beneficial to that employer.
- Try to get inside the mind of the recruiter. What would they want to hear about you? What have you done that helps you stand out to them? If you can’t think of something that makes you stand out, use the time between now and graduation to change that.
- Got the interview! Great, then be relevant when you get there. Every brand needs to be relevant to the people they are trying to sell to. Make no mistake, that’s what the interview process is about. You’re trying to sell yourself to prospective employers. Be truthful, but be relevant.
- Good communication is at the heart of every brand. What would you think if you saw a typo in an advertisement? Recruiters will think the same thing if they see a mistake in your résumé or cover letter. That’s all part of the consistency message. Be consistently good in your communication.
- A brand is often only represented by its logo and a logo is always handled with care. The way you present yourself, your appearance, is like your logo. Dress appropriately and be nicely groomed. Presenting yourself as a professional will help to convince people you’re a professional.