Most job seekers brand themselves for a job because that’s how we’ve been taught to write resumes.

We’ve not only been taught to write resumes branding ourselves for a job, but it was reinforced while there were candidate shortages – because you could make lots of mistakes in a forgiving job market.

But in a job market of job shortages, the market isn’t forgiving at all … it’s brutal.

We’ve been taught that hiring managers look for the same thing, despite the obvious fact that each employer has its own unique set of circumstances and problems that are different from other employers.

We’ve been taught that hiring managers seek an average candidate with average skills and average experience.

So you brand yourself as a Senior Accountant, Marketing Director or IT Manager. It was good enough to help you land your last job … it should be good enough for this job search.

Except that it’s not …

Because in a job market with job shortages, where you compete against an average 1,000 applicants and most employers use ATS plus an additional 1 to 4 pre-screen steps, being good enough doesn’t get you interviews anymore.

If branding yourself for a job doesn’t get you interviews, what will?

Branding yourself for a specific opportunity helps you show the hiring manger that you’re a superior candidate for that specific job, rather than superior for any job.

Here’s 5 ways to brand yourself for a specific opportunity:

  1. Resume Title: Your resume title or personal branding statement should include the actual title of the specific opportunity you’re applying for. This will be much more specific than Marketing Professional, Programmer or Sales Executive because it’s unlikely that the specific opportunity you’re applying for will have this broad of a title.
  2. Research: In order to brand yourself for a specific opportunity, you’ll need to do more research on the opportunity before you send in your resume. Since most candidates don’t do much research until they are selected for an interview, this will mean starting your research earlier in your job search process.
  3. Go Beyond The Job Description: Job descriptions list skills, not underlying problems. Job descriptions don’t list problems because they are public – Employers don’t want competitors, customers and shareholders to see their problems. If you want to brand yourself for the specific opportunity, you need to understand why the employer is hiring the position, even if the position is a replacement … before you send in your resume. By first understanding the employer’s (and hiring manager’s) underlying problems, you can show on your resume that you’ve already solved similar problems, branding yourself as a superior candidate for that specific opportunity.
  4. Bullet Points: Choose bullet points that are important for the specific opportunity, to give support that you’ve already solved problems similar to the employer’s and hiring manager’s priority issues. Even if you’re applying for basically the same job at different employers, each employer (and hiring manager) have different issues. If you list the same bullet points for each opportunity you apply to, you’re not going to connect on key issues for most employers, unnecessarily lowering your odds.
  5. Emphasis: Most of us learned to emphasize the points that we’re most proud of. Your hiring managers don’t really care what you’re most proud of … they care about how you’re going to help them solve problems. Emphasize how you’ve already solved similar problems to the priority issues your individual hiding manager faces.

Branding yourself for the job just isn’t good enough in today’s job market featuring job shortage, mass competition, 2 – 4 levels of pre-screening and ATSs.


There’s no average job, so why would you want to write a resume for an average job?

You’ll find much greater job search success and improve your odds of winning interviews by branding yourself specifically for each individual opportunity that you apply to.