The concept of personal branding was originally formulated by Tom Peters in 1997. However, it is only in recent years that its application has proven effective for job seekers. Dan Schawbel, a guru within this discipline, states that “personal branding, by definition, is the process of marketing ourselves” (source). While reading his definition, I was reminded of a marketing class I took that introduced me to the 4 P’s of marketing: product, price, placement, and promotion. It got me wondering how job seekers could utilize marketing methodologies for their own personal brand and understand its application within a real world context. Here is an exercise that you can apply that marries the 4 P’s of marketing with your own personal brand.
Here is a hint: the product is you. The sooner you realize that you are a commodity that is paid annually for services rendered, the easier it will be for you to define and sell yourself as a viable product in the job market. The first thing you need to source is what your target companies need and how your unique selling point satisfies those needs. Is your product more efficient? Does it offer greater functionality? Do you bring a network that can contribute to their current customer base? In particular, ask yourself what are your three key selling features and how do they satisfy the needs of your customer (a.k.a the recruiter). For example, when defining my own personal brand, one of my key features was my Geocentric background.
I have travelled to 42 countries, lived and worked on 3 different continents, and hold an undergraduate degree with a double major in Psychology and Religious Studies. This background allows me to understand, relate, connect, and communicate to diverse groups and environments. Needless to say, within the human capital and recruitment industry, having a keen eye for talent and being able to read individuals was my unique selling point compared to my competitors.
Think of three key words and picture each word as a parachute that, once released, has strings tied to you. The key is to define your product features, extract as much value from each feature, and then bundle and sell it so you are attractive to hiring managers and recruiters.
In order to price your product strategically and know what salary you warrant, you need to do your market research. The first step is to understand who your competition is and what those job applicants are negotiating. A great resource is www.payscale.com. This website not only allows you to enter a specific job title that you are applying for, but also populate your territory, education level, age, gender, and years experience. You will then able to see how you are different from other job applicants, what you all universally offer, and most importantly, how much your product warrants in the current market.
The second step is to understand what your customer (a.k.a your target company) is willing to pay for your services. A great resource to help you price your product strategically is www.glassdoor.com. This website offers current salary statistics for each title within a specific company. Once you do your market research, you can then decide if you want to discount your product by 5%, in order to undercut other job applicants or, at the very least, know your market value to recruiters.
When marketing your personal brand, you need to consider distribution. Ask yourself, how does a hiring manager have access to your product and services? If you are submitting your resume through an on-line job bank and waiting by the phone, would you consider that an effective distribution channel? Probably not.
An alternative placement option would be—you guessed it—Recruitment Partners! We are a unique point-of-sale between the buyer (our clients) and your product (our candidates). If you want to get your personal brand circulating and create buzz in the job market, then reach out and connect with one of our amazing recruiters.
In order to implement your personal brand and attract recruiters, you need to promote yourself and generate ROI (Return on Influence). There are numerous free tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogging. All of these social media sites promote your personal brand by offering different venues to advertise who you are, your accomplishments, your network, your recommendations, and your passion. These tools offer numerous layers about what you can contribute to a company that far surpass a generic linear resume.
In order to measure Return on Influence and how recruiters perceive you, here are a couple great tracking tools:
- www.hootsuite.com This website allows you to view your Klout score based on how much traffic you receive from all your social media activity.
- www.twittergrader.com This website allows you to generate more followers on Twitter. For example, it provides data on how many followers you generated and re-tweets occurred for each individual post. You can capitalize on this data and generate more buzz around your personal brand, by tailoring your posts to generate more influence and followers.
- www.backtype.com This website shows the majority of your activity on the web and where you create the most connections. I love this site because I can track where I have the most impact and return on influence.
The key to promotion is to advertise what you are passionate about and how you can uniquely contribute to an organization. That is what makes a hiring manager or recruiter pick up the phone and call you.
In summary, the key take away to personal branding is that it demonstrates your intellectual property to a potential company, hiring manager, or recruiter. While a resume only asserts your viability, your personal brand through effective marketing proves it.
Before you submit your resume through a job bank. Stop, open a new browser, then type your name into Google. What shows up on that screen is the new resume. Brand yourself accordingly.
Written by Lana Leeb