Build A New Personal Brand For the New Year

Corporate branding enables a business to boil its identity down to its streamlined essence, which is then captured in a pallet of words, colors and images. Corporate brands are engineered to “pop,” which is a challenge on a landscape noisy with competitors.

Job seekers can use some of the same strategies to make their materials stand out. Branding is all about being clear, impactful and compelling. That is exactly what you want for your candidacy package.

When you examine your current profile, you will probably notice that certain words and themes come up repeatedly. Self-branding means claiming these terms as indicators of your professional identity by incorporating them into an elevator pitch that you use uniformly and strategically.

Once you’ve amassed a representative vocabulary, use it to mindfully refresh your materials as components that function together with a complimentary look, feel and sound. The end result sends a clear and unified message about who you are and where you plan to go professionally.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s a great way to refresh your materials and to mentally organize yourself for the job search ahead. Creating the streamlined clarity that makes corporate branding so impactful is a helpful communications exercise that will yield a stellar candidacy package and help you get your mind in the game. Here’s how you can do it:   

Discover your essence:   

Review your resume, cover letter and social media profiles. Undoubtedly you have evolved since you penned these. Also, review performance appraisals and other feedback from mentors, peers or teachers. See what terms surface.

Are you a dynamic leader? Are you a team player who relishes a challenge? Are you detail-oriented and innovative? Identify words that represent you–action words that are clear, vibrant and speak to your essence.

As you reflect on these terms, think about your brand voice. In corporate branding, this is how a company focuses its communications so its messaging remains consistent with the language of its brand. The brand voice isn’t stated. It’s an underlying thesis, a pulse of the corporation’s identity.

A job seeker’s brand voice might be articulate, creative, and management savvy, for example. It speaks to that individual’s core professional values. Identifying these values is a satisfying and productive exercise. Your brand voice is in line with your strengths, and identifying it will help you focus your communications.  

Revise your materials     

Once you have identified your brand voice and a bank of actions words that represents you well,  enhance your existing materials with those terms. You want your materials to compliment each other as nuanced components of a complete package. They can work together or function as individual pieces to tell your story in a concise and strategic way.

Now it’s time to add concrete examples. Don’t just say you’re a “dynamic leader,” demonstrate it by citing numbers of team members or projects you’ve lead and accomplishments that happened under (or because of) your leadership.

Champion your brand  

Be a good brand ambassador and use the pallet of language that represents you. Don’t stray from  your brand voice. In order to be impactful, branding has to be a systematic and consistent. So carry this approach through the preparation of your materials and into your interviews. It will help you to keep yourself focused and your communication strategy clean.