What is a brand? When you see a familiar company logo, you know what the brand represents. A successful brand inspires trust and helps sell products.
For job hunters, a personal brand is a powerful marketing tool. A brand points to your key talents, achievements and passions, and says clearly, “This is who I am and what I do.”
How can branding help you in your job search?
A brand adds the “wow” factor. It helps you stand out in a crowded field of applicants. Start by asking yourself, “What unique skills do I offer to an employer? What makes me a good fit?” Jot down personal success stories that show the qualities you consider part of your brand.
A brand shows you are job-ready. Some 50+ workers ask, “Why do I need a brand? My experience speaks for itself.” Years ago, that was true. But in today’s job market, you need to show what you can do now and in the future.
A brand gives focus to your resume. Let’s say you want to brand yourself as a tech-savvy worker who gets things done. If your resume is just a dull list of job duties, you’re selling yourself short. Instead, show your dynamic qualities. Use action verbs, cite clear achievements, and highlight your technical skills.
A brand builds self-confidence at the job interview. Personal appearance, body language, and attitude are all part of your brand. Know what you want to say at the interview, rehearse answers to potential questions, and smile.
A brand makes networking easier. Once you know what message you want to send about yourself, you can create an “elevator speech” to use in any networking situation.
An “elevator speech” is a brief commercial for yourself that can be delivered in the time it takes to ride the elevator from the top to the bottom of a building. It consists of a few well-chosen sentences that tell your work story, including: Who are you? What do you do best? How have you made an impact?
Learn more about personal branding and elevator speeches at www.aarp.org/jobtips.
Deborah Russell, director of Workforce Issues at AARP, leads the educational and outreach efforts aimed at improving employment options and the economic security of individuals 50+.