What is a brand? A brand represents a company’s products and services. When we see a familiar logo, it arouses feelings and associations—good, bad, or indifferent. A successful brand is one we identify with and feel good about.
See also: Test your job hunting smarts.
What does this have to do with finding a job at 50+?
Like a good product brand, a personal brand is a tool to help you stand out from the crowd.
A personal brand says clearly, “This is who I am and what I do.” It displays your unique talents and experiences.
The Changing World of Employment
If you are job hunting right now, you’ve noticed that things have changed over the past few decades.
Today, job postings, applications, and resumes are also posted online. But you can’t just post your resume and wait for responses. Conveying your personal brand in your resume can help you sell your talents and skills.
All generations are competing in a tight job market. If you can clearly show what sets you apart, you’ll have an edge.
Recruiters and interviewers—many of whom are younger than you—may not be impressed by how long you’ve worked. They want to know how you can be valuable to the employer.
Elements of Your Personal Brand
Perhaps you’re thinking: “Why do I need a brand? My experience should speak for itself.” Not so. Valuable as it is, experience should not be your only selling point. The purpose of a personal brand is to add the “wow” factor.
Here are some of the elements that go into your brand:
- Your skills and qualifications. What are you good at? What are your key talents?
- Your achievements. How have you made an impact?
- Your passions. What do you love doing? How does your passion infuse your work?
- Your value. Do you offer what the employer is looking for?
For a step-by-step guide on how to create a personal brand, check out this free career branding tutorial from Quintessential Careeers.
Using Your Brand in Your Job Search
A personal brand can be incorporated into all phases of your job search.
1. Networking. Networking is more important than ever. A personal brand can help you feel more self-assured as you network.
Introduce yourself using elements of your brand. Example: “I’m Jane Murdoch, and I turn conflict into agreement. As the owner of Better Communications Inc., I teach people how to resolve conflicts and manage change.”
Get business cards printed, and leave them with your contacts.
2. Resumes and cover letters. Liven up your resume and cover letter by pointing to your unique achievements, skills, and work values.
Focus on measurable achievements—much more compelling than job titles and responsibilities. Examples: “increased sales by 40 percent,” “expanded program from one county to four.”
Near the top of the resume, include a career objective or skills summary. Show that your expertise matches the requirements of this particular job. Learn more about writing objectives from Monster.
Create a fresh cover letter, using the elements of your personal brand.
3. Interviews. A major component of your brand is how you present yourself in public.
Show a positive attitude—alert, interested, and confident.
Be aware of your body language, and maintain eye contact.
Pay attention to your appearance—be up-to-date, professional, energetic.
Your Brand—Not Brand X
You might not be in the habit of “tooting your own horn.” But unless you can market your skills, you’ll find it hard to get the attention you deserve. By creating your own personal brand, you’ll have a valuable tool that will help you succeed in your job search.
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