Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Building Your Personal Brand

One of the things we've seen over the last 6-12 months is that hiring is on the upswing for specialists and in niche areas. Generalists are not getting a second look.

Part of what we do in the Momentum Resources process is to divine exactly what our candidates want to be doing, what they're good at how and how we can help set them apart in a very, very crowded job market. One of the least helpful things a candidate can say to us, even if it's true, is "I will do anything."

Once we identify a good role for a candidate, we present our candidate to the hiring manager with what we so eloquently call "the blurb." This is essentially a 2-3 sentence elevator pitch that says who this person is, what they're looking for, what their expertise is and why they're good for the job. What we're doing is introducing our candidate's personal brand.
  • BAD: IT Project Manager seeks flexible full-time job
  • GOOD: Business Process Management guru with 5 years of Federal Agency IT management experience and PMP certification is returning to work after an 18 month hiatus for child-rearing. Sally led a similar effort within the Dept. of Transportation right before her hiatus and would bring her BPM and high-level client management skills to your project at Health & Human Services.
Catherine Kaputa, author of The Female Brand, has an excellent blog post on this very topic. I advise readers to link through and have a serious look at this article, but she basically says:
  • Identify your personal brand before you start promoting it
  • Focus your brand (no generalists!)
  • Avoid adopting a copycat brand
  • Behave consistently
  • Don't ignore social media
  • Don't over-promote
If you're in the market, think about your brand. How do you describe yourself? Do you have an elevator pitch ready to go? Are you practicing it? What is your area of expertise? How can people find you or learn about that expertise?

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