It Takes More Than a Hat to be a Cowboy

The best brands tell a story about how they solve problems. The best brands entice us because they’ve created meaning for us.

who-are-youYour personal brand needs to do the same! And the key to building a powerful personal brand lies in understanding what you as an employee or leader — and only you — bring to the table and how to tell your brand story. This goes for the currently employed seeking the promotion or sweet assignment, the leader who wants people to follow and job seekers looking to land sooner rather than later. Let’s use the job seeker in this example.

“Maketeer,” best-selling author, and creator of the world’s most popular blog Seth Godin defines “brand” in this way:

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.

Translating that into personal brand for job seekers, it might read:

Your personal brand is the set of strengths, talents, traits, skills, experiences, results, accomplishments and culture fit you hold dear that, taken together, account for your future employer’s decision to choose you over another candidate. If the hiring manager doesn’t offer another interview, tout you to other interviewers in the company or spread the word otherwise, then no brand value exists for that hiring manager.

Consider these three elements when developing your personal brand so you’ll stand out from other candidates for the job:

  1. What You Do: Your Strengths
    What unique abilities, skills, experiences do you bring to an employer that make you the most valuable candidate? Are you the uber detailed analyst or the one who only needs three bullet points to make a quick decision? Are you hyper organized and a creator of efficient systems and processes or can you bend it like Beckham, flexing at every roadblock that gets in your way? Are you a change agent who’s never had a linear thought in your life, finding alternatives when the first attempt doesn’t work perfectly or are you a stabilizer who keeps an organization from investing in lofty, unrealistic changes before taking time to check it out first? Are you the painter who paints ideas with ideas and concepts to create a vision of what can be or do you actually pick up the brush, canvass and oils to show the picture and invite people to experience it? Stay true to your natural way of problem solving and tell that story in your personal branding!
  2. What’s Meaningful to You: Your “Why”
    What would it take to have you turn off the alarm and hit the ground running to your job la-la-la-ing all the way that you GET to go to work and do what you do? What kinds of problems do you solve that are meaningful to you? Because when you buy into the “why” of a role and company, you will contribute more than 100%, and that’s priceless to any (great) employer. For example, are you a servant leader who puts the needs of others first… or a rainmaker who’ll stop at nothing to create the next great opportunity? Think about your values and beliefs… does your potential new employer hold the same as dear?  What are the words you’ll use to paint the picture of your “why” for an employer to know you are the one for the job?  What stories can you tell about your successes to illustrate your “why?”
  3. Culture Fit: Where You Do Your Best Work
    Fitting in with a new team and company is probably 65% or more of the battle. So tell the story of the value you can bring to the right organization. Talking about fitting in at a start-up – “thrives in a fast-paced environment where the most adaptable win” — will look very different than being the perfect match for a 50-year-old culture – “recognize the value in long-held traditions that create success.” Where will you fit in best? How will you paint the picture of your perfect fit culture?

Do you have examples of personal branding statements that tell your story succinctly and authentically?  Share them here!

Do you need help crafting your personal brand strategy? Contact OI Global Partners today! We can help.

Meredith Masse, Innovative Career Consulting, an OI Global Partner based in Denver, is on a personal mission to create “best places to work” filled with engaged employees and “follower-worthy” managers and leaders.  

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