To my jobseekers I assert that career branding is a lot like business branding—the big difference, of course, is that they’re selling themselves to get a job, not to increase profit for a company. Nonetheless, the two are similar.
An article posted on MagneticLook.com by Silvia Pencak talks about business branding, e.g., Apple, Mercedes, and unique small businesses, but also brings to mind how jobseekers can brand themselves to employers. Ms. Pencak notes that there are ways to strategically brand a business but makes it clear that it’s not at the expense of trashing other companies. She writes:
But before I do it, it’s important to understand that the objective of brand positioning is not to bring your competitors down, but to outshine them by performing better and more efficiently cater to the needs of the industry’s customers.
Based on a business model, there are five ways that jobseekers can brand themselves.
- A low-cost leadership strategy. This is not to say that as a leader, you must present yourself as someone who will work for free or for a low salary. You will come across as someone whose leadership abilities will pay for itself over and over. You are a leader who crafted your subordinates into excellent workers, some of whom became leaders themselves.
- A broad differentiation strategy. You attract employers from many industries which produce many products or services. You are not limited in your talents and experience, and have accomplishments to back it up. You sell yourself as someone who “wears many hats,” while remaining extremely effective.
- A best-cost provider strategy. Your are someone who offers potential employers a multi-dimensional employee who brings with her not only excellent technical skills but transferable ones as well. A project manager or engineer who also demonstrates excellent presentation skills, offers employers two employees for the price of one.
- A focused strategy based on lower costs. You know the benefits of working for smaller companies but realize that salaries are generally smaller. The small start-up wants to reduce costs (salaries) but needs two employees, a project manager and inside sales rep. Both jobs are within your realm, so you propose to be hired to perform both tasks at 75% of what it would cost to hire two employees, thus saving the company a boatload of money and meeting your salary needs.
- A focused strategy based on differentiation. You have a strategy or plan not only for yourself but for the company or organization as well. You have career goals that are attainable and in synch with your future employer. You differentiate yourself from other jobseekers as someone who can meet your goals, which is not the case for your competitors.
These are five business strategies that you must use to beat the competition. You as a jobseekers must develop strategies that enable you to beat your competition and land the job. To be able to perform at the top of your field is not enough; you must be able to communicate it in your verbal and written communications…otherwise you’re talents and accomplishments will be unknown.
Is it possible to separate career branding and personal branding? Is there a fine line? Mary Appleton makes a valid point in an article she shared with me that personal branding is important in terms of highlighting your personality skills. She writes in her response to this article:
In addition though, I think it’s really important for job seekers to define their own personal brand, which comes down to personality and determines whether you’re the right cultural fit. The art of personal branding can be hard to master, particularly as it’s not easy for people to get into the habit of thinking of themselves as a ‘product’ they need to market.