Business

How to distinguish yourself in your job search? Give yourself a brand

When you see the Apple logo what comes to mind? Innovation, sleek designs, and intuitive technologies are a few things that come to my mind.

So how did the Apple marketing team build such strong brand recognition that these attributes immediately come to mind when I see a logo of an apple with a bite taken out of it? Deliberate and strategic branding strategies are at play.

When someone hears your name or sees a photo of you, what kinds of attributes are automatically associated with your brand?

Caroline Francis with University of Kentucky Alumni Career Services, a Nationally Certified Career Counselor with over 25 years of experience, suggested what she thought were a few of the critical components of a job seeker’s professional brand.

She encourages job seekers to think about your brand as your professional reputation or image. Ask yourself what differentiates you from your peers? Also, how would your current and former colleagues, customers, clients and supervisors describe you? Ask yourself, for what do you want to be known for professionally?

Keep in mind as a job seeker, that your personal presentation as well as all of your job search materials send a message about you. It is critical to ensure your résumé, LinkedIn profile, and other “marketing” materials reflect your strengths and accomplishments as well as skills and experience.

As a career expert, Francis advises job seekers to spend time building a professional LinkedIn profile. She says, “A top-notch LinkedIn profile is one of the best ways for people to find you and learn more about your background and brand.”

Résumés, professional correspondence and community involvement also demonstrate your brand along with blogs, websites and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sometimes job seekers drift when it comes to how they showcase their brand. Francis shares that many underestimate the power of professional dress, written correspondence and manners. Remember to express appreciation and gratitude throughout your career to those that have helped along the way. Pay it forward when you can.

An incomplete or inconsistent branding platform is a common error of branding among job seekers. The LinkedIn profile and résumé should be consistent and communicate similar themes of work experience and educational background. It should be easy to identify a clear and consistent career goal among the various branding platforms.

Francis suggests for job seekers to “be conscious of how others perceive you and what you may or may not be doing to foster a positive image.” Remember, a critical component of the job search is to demonstrate a credible and positively affiliated brand.

Do you give back to your network, profession and community? If so, is that information easily affiliated with your brand?

Consider a branding perspective on your job search. You are associated with the brand you demonstrate through a variety of platforms. Evaluate the effectiveness of your brand often and make necessary adjustments as needed. For example, if you have applied to many jobs with no interview invitations, consider evaluating your résumé and social media presence as well as how you are demonstrating your preparedness for those specific opportunities.

The University of Kentucky Alumni Association in partnership the University’s Human Resources Staff Career Development office and the Fayette County Cooperative Extension Services host the Central Kentucky Job Club twice monthly. The purpose of Job Club is to provide a positive environment for motivated job seekers to meet, connect, share and learn.

The free Central Kentucky Job Club (www.ukalumni.net/jobclub) meets at 9 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Fayette Cooperative Extension Office, 1140 Red Mile Place.

Amanda Schagane serves as a career coach in the Gatton College of Business & Economics at UK. She is designated a Master Career Counselor by the National Career Development Association and has served as president for the Kentucky chapter of the organization. Join her on LinkedIn or email her at Amanda.Goldsmith@uky.edu.

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