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by Coach Liz

Have you heard of Career Branding?  Many people do not realize that Career Brandingeven exists!  They are familiar with branding for business, products and/or services but not career branding.  Why is that?

Let’s start by defining exactly what “branding” is.  When you are in the process of branding you are promoting.  You may ask, what is being promoted?  “Promoting a particular company or product offered, through advertisement and design”.  A second definition of branding involves “making an indelible mark or noticeable impression on somebody or something”.    Therefore, it would be safe to say that career branding is ‘promoting yourself using your career’.

Based on the intended results, with career branding you position yourself to become influential and successful by branding your career.  Think of it in this way, one of my taglines for my unique coaching model Self Invest 101™, why invest in yourself?  “Because YOU are your greatest investment”!  Your career brand is ‘your investment’.    By being your own greatest investment, it is critical to put your best foot forward in all things job search and career.  If indeed you are your own investment and brand, you want to make sure that you stand out from all the others in your field!

Having an effective career brand is paramount in completing this task.  The following are 5 important elements of career branding.  Keep in mind there are more than just these five but, in my opinion, these are some of the most important.  They are:   Resume/Cover letter, Job Search Strategy, Interview Skills, Personal Appearance and Work Style.

Let’s take a closer look at each one.  Remember that you can also use or transfer the elements of career branding as your personal brand development if you are a business owner/entrepreneur.

1.  Resume/Cover Letter – Your resume is the most important tool you have in developing a career brand.  Think of your resume as your calling card.  It showcases not only your employment history but also your skills.  Therefore, ensure your resume and cover letter contain relevant and pertinent information, hard/soft skills, experience and leadership skills.

2. Job Search Strategy – Organize and strategize your job search.  Utilize online spaces, pages and platforms in searching for the perfect job.  It is not a bad idea to visit the HR Department of the companies you are interested in.  Ask questions, ask for job descriptions and make sure to familiarize yourself with the vision and mission of the company.  Develop partnerships, connections and collaborations through networking and attending job fairs.

3.  Interview Skills – Your communication skills and style are critical during the interviewing process.  How well can you articulate your job skills and job performance to others?  Remember to take note of your posture, verbal and non-verbal cues, to show your personality and exude confidence.  It is important to remember you are selling yourself, utilize your art of negotiation and definitely dress to impress!

4.  Personal Appearance – Take special note of the office climate of any potential employer.  Does the office have a business casual form of dress or is it strictly conservative?  Based upon that information, you will have the ability to make an “informed” decision on how you will present yourself.  Remember, less is always best.  Do not go over the top with cologne, perfume, jewelry or make-up.  Leave your cell phone in the car!  Make sure that your hair and nails are trimmed, cut and neat.  When in doubt on how you should dress to impress, google is your best friend.

5. Work Style – Evaluate your past work performance and take note of the type of work style that suits you best.  Do you like to work in teams, groups or solo?  Are you logical, detail-oriented, supportive, idea-oriented?  When you recognize the style that you thrive in you can use it as a tool to use on the job.

The most important thing to remember about career branding is that you already have one.  It’s the way you govern yourself on the job, it’s your style, it’s your reputation, it’s how you’re known and respected in the workforce.  It’s your reputation.  Know who you are.  Be confident.  Develop your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses.  A successful career brand has the primary ingredient of AUTHENTICITY.

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