Personal branding for job search is a method to differentiate the good-fit qualities and value you offer your target employers over those competing against you, by aligning your key areas of expertise, driving strengths, passions, and relevant personal attributes with your target employers current needs.
Executive branding encompasses personal and business attributes, and zeroes in on your leadership qualities that drive high-performing teams to deliver (or over-deliver) on goals, increase profitability, boost productivity, decrease expense, etc.
When preparing for executive job search, your mission is to create content for various purposes, and build an executive brand communications plan that reinforces your unique promise of value to your target employers, across diverse channels online and off-line.
Here’s how to pull it all together.
Build Executive Brand Content From the Inside Out
Step one in executive brand-building is doing the time-consuming back-end work of digging deep internally and externally:
- Research target companies – once you’ve made a list of employers that interest you.
- Identify relevant keywords – you’ll use these throughout all the content you write.
- Complete personal branding exercises – define the personal and business attributes that make you a successful leader.
- Get feedback from others (at work and in your personal life) about the value you offer – the true measure of your brand is the perception of you held by the external world. Annual performance reviews are a great resource.
- Build out your career history – for each job, detail your scope of responsibilities and key areas of expertise (using the relevant keywords you’ve uncovered) that align with target employers’ current needs.
- Complete the Challenge-Actions-Results (C-A-Rs) exercise – detail your top contributions to past employers (with metrics whenever possible) that will resonate with target employers.
Now you’re ready to write the content for your executive brand communications plan.
Executive Brand Essential Content
Just to keep pace with your executive job seeking competitors, you’ll need to create content for these job search communications:
>>> Executive brand positioning statement – a brief 3-5 line paragraph that links your areas of expertise (using the most relevant keywords you’ve identified) with your key personal attributes, in content that will resonate with your target employers. Here’s an example of a brand statement for a VP of Global Marketing in Medical Devices:
“Respected for my unflappable temerity, I am a tireless innovator in new product development, strategic planning, marketing, and commercialization. I envision opportunity where others see complexity and thrive when tackling the big projects, making the tough decisions, and catalyzing the team to surpass goals and outdistance competitors. A supportive, consensus-building leader, I value collaboration and guide with confidence, diplomacy, and heart.”
>>> Executive resume – include your brand statement in your resume.
>>> Executive career biography – because it’s a better storytelling vehicle than your resume, your bio helps those assessing you envision you at work, contributing to the success of the company.
>>> LinkedIn profile – use both your resume and bio to create this content. Once you build your branded profile, get busy on relevant LinkedIn Groups, starting and participating in discussions where you can showcase your subject matter expertise
>>> Email signature tagline – pare down your personal brand statement into a hard-hitting, concise tagline. Here’s an example, for the same executive job seeker as above:
“Tireless innovator in new product development, strategic planning, marketing, and commercialization, envisioning opportunity where others see complexity.”
>>> Your elevator pitch, or “Tell me about yourself” response – if you can’t tell people exactly what you have to offer and what you want (what type of job in what geographical location and industry) they won’t be able to help you reach your career goals. Here’s an example using the same job seeker as above:
“I’m a tireless innovator in new product development, strategic planning, marketing, and commercialization for the medical devices industry. I’m seeking a senior-level marketing position in the [geographic location] area. Two of the companies I’m targeting are [name of company] and [name of company].”
With the above items under your belt, you’re ready to start networking your way into opportunities at your target companies.
But don’t stop there . . .
Other Important Executive Brand Content
There are many high-traffic sites you can leverage to build your brand online. These are places where executive recruiters and hiring decision makers hang out, and search for good-fit candidates. Here are just a few of the best ones:
- Google Plus
- Relevant Blogs – Starting and maintaining your own blogsite is the best option but, if that’s not a realistic commitment for you, try guest blogging and/or commenting on relevant blogs.
- Profiles and activity on Professional Association Websites
- Write book reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. – first create profiles on these sites, to build more relevant search results for “your name”.
For more ways to build your brand online, see 10 Best Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online.
Taking the time to target your job search and define what differentiates you from your job-seeking competitors in the content across your executive brand communications plan will help you focus, and land a best-fit job faster.