Career Strategy Tips #2 - The Power of Your Brand
Can your personal Brand drive your career? It certainly drives shoppers to favor and buy certain products. And, on one level, we are all products.
Think of your Brand as a tool to -- influence others -- create a preference -- be your footprint -- be your identity. It is your identity in the career marketplace. Your Brand should give you and others a quick understanding, focus and clarity about you. It should generate enthusiasm and create an ally.
So, the first questions you need to ask yourself are: Who am I? and, What makes me so special? What makes me successful? Or, what about me is successful? What is my strongest suit?
In this age of butterfly attention spans, your Brand should be short and sweet -- generally, 3-5 sentences in length. Not only should it be a key component of your resume, but also a critical tool for networking and interviewing. It also, shines a light on your career path future, clarifying where you are headed. Re your resume your Brand is placed between your name and address and your Experience & Accomplishments section as a stand alone paragraph.
Your Brand should accomplish two things -- 1.) Synthesize who you are professionally including your greatest accomplishment/s, and, 2.) Shine a spotlight into the future on your career path. Your focus is on what makes you special. The spotlight into your future may be subtle to others, but it is something that you should be very clear about.
So, let's begin. Your first sentence should lead with your current title, as long as it reflects the area that you want to stay and advance in. For example: (Please note that the following specific career example should only be used to clarify the concept of Brand, which applies to diverse careers and situations.)
• Vice President, International Sales/marketing for major consumer brand
• Vice President International Sales/Marketing _______ Company
• Successful (or accomplished) Senior Marketing Executive and innovative Brand specialist
Foremost, in terms of the information you choose to use vs. lose is whether it is advantageous for someone to know as it relates to your career path into the future. In bullet point 1. you want to stay in sales/marketing but do not wish to mention your present/recent company's name in this statement. 2. You consider your company a strong positive re your career future. In 3. you want to emphasize your marketing and product brand success. Again, because that's what you enjoy the most, are most successful at, and where you want to move forward in your career.
Your next sentence should expand on your contributions to your Company, your attributes, and how you excelled in your position; followed by 1-2 sentences describing one or two of your key accomplishments -- again, selected with the most relevancy for your career future. For example:
• Expanded territories, or, consumer (customer) base by____%, or annual sales by_____dollars .
• Launched innovative marketing strategy which resulted in______?
• Drove new sales initiative resulting in 20% year-over-year international sales increase.
Your last sentence should add any background highlights about yourself that can be attention grabbers; such as: MBA Harvard University (if not a high-profile school drop the school, since what you want to sell is MBA, not the MBA and school) -- Bilingual: English - French -- Top international sales award, etc.
Let's go back to the first sentence, again, always with an eye towards your future. Let's assume that you you want to move beyond Sales/Marketing into greater corporate responsibilities. Naturally Leadership would be an important component. So Leadership should be integrated into your Brand, and, if realistic, be part of your accomplishments. The statement that you successfully led a sales team with a strategic sales initiative that resulted in____? is important in giving confirmation of your ability to think strategically, inspire and motivate a team for successful outcomes. So, words like 'innovative', 'strategic' 'initiatives' are fine as long as you can take ownership of them. They should not stand alone. They need justification, and that is where your accomplishments come in -- specifically, What did you do that was 'innovative'? What 'initiatives' did you launch and what were the outcomes?, etc..
In conclusion, your Brand focuses on those Strengths -- Talents, Experience, Skills, Expertise, Accomplishments -- that are most relevant for you to move forward in your career. And remember, Crisis in Chinese is 2 characters -- danger and opportunity. The French would substitute 'love' for 'crisis'. So, you must create opportunities by loving what you do best.