What if someone called you out of the blue and asked you to come in for an interview. No application necessary.
This is the ideal scenario, but it can’t happen if you’re a well-kept secret. You need a personal brand!
Attracting job opportunities CAN happen, but it requires you have a recognized personal brand. But not just any brand- it has to be a brand that companies need.
In the simplest of terms, a brand is a recognized name.
In your case, your brand is what people think of when they hear your name.
Truth be told, your professional reputation has already been established. People who work with you know what type of worker you are. They’ve seen you in action. So what if you want to alter how people perceive you? Can you rebrand yourself or upgrade your personal brand? Absolutely. The first step is defining what you want to be known for.
Try answering these three questions to fine-tune your personal brand.
What Problem Do You Solve?
Every business has a problem that needs fixing. This is why companies hire new people. It is also the reason companies buy services. When you understand this simple rule, it will help you convey your message.
Businesses want to hire people that will increase profits, decrease time or labor or improve efficiency. No one is going to hire you based only on your degree or an impressive list of past employers.
The problems companies face come in all shapes and sizes. But to get you started thinking about the problem you solve, think about times when you have come up with an innovative solution. You may be known as the original thinker of the group. Every company needs an out-of-the-box mind.
Perhaps you implemented solutions that saved time. Your new process may have reduced hours worked on a project or enabled a new product to reach the market faster. Time is money, so if you possess the knack for saving time, your skills are in demand.
Making something easier, whether ordering a product, speaking to a customer service representative or streamlining an internal process, is a skill most everyone appreciates. If you’ve ever removed red tape or automated tedious work, you’ve made some people very happy.
Write down the top problems you’ve enjoyed solving.
[Get more help Recalling Past Accomplishments]
How Do You Meet or Exceed Expectations?
The work you’ve done in the past is indicative of the work you will do in the future. If you have met or exceeded expectations, that says a lot about you. But you’ll need to be specific.
Have you made it easier to get projects completed? Have you made it less risky to do business with your employer? Do customers love to refer new business to your company? If you serve internal customers, in other words, other departments within your company, you are measured the same way.
Start asking yourself how you made it easier for departments to interact with you. Have you anticipated potential problems and proactively put measures in place? Do you listen to what your internal customers are asking for?
Identify the situations when you’ve improved how customers interact with you, your team or the company, and you’re one step closer to pinning down why people like working with you.
Write down the examples of times you’ve met or exceeded expectations.
How Do You Make A Difference In the World?
Personality goes a long way to differentiate you from the competition. Think about what people have said about why they enjoy working with you.
It could be due to your management style or how you communicate. Or maybe you’ve been recognized as the person who gives 110 percent to get things done. Is it possible that people come to you because you put them at ease and they trust you will provide the best solution?
Take note of the positive feedback you’ve received and look for recurring patterns. You shouldn’t take this for granted or be humble. Your unique way of getting things done makes a difference in the world. Capture this feedback and use it to market yourself.
String Them All Together
When you take the answers from above and string them all together, you’ve created the rough draft of your unique selling proposition or value proposition, which is part of your personal brand. Play with the words and test the response you get from people who know you well.
Know When and Where To Use Your Message
You want your message to get out. You want people to discover you when they search online or when they talk to friends or colleagues. So it’s important to share your message online and in person.
Use the keywords from your answers and add them to your LinkedIn profile, especially in your summary. If you are active on other social networks, be sure you use the same keywords in those bios. You can even create a personal email signature containing those keywords or a tag line.
[See: Your Summary, Profile and Pitch]
And when someone asks you what you do, don’t rattle off your job title and employer. Instead tell the person the type of problem you solve, how you meet needs and how you make a difference in the world. They will find it a lot more interesting. Learn more about creating and using your pitch here.
This post originally appeared on US News & World Report On Careers
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.