• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • How Adding a Tailored Sound Bite to My Resume Doubled Interview Requests

    352236334_0f4a7f42c1Have you ever watched stars on the red carpet? When they are interviewed, there is one universal theme to their answers – Short and Sweet. Memorable. Quotable. Also known as the Sound Bite.

    Personal branding sound bite

    I recently added a “Profile” section to my resume, which serves as my personal branding sound bite to employers. I would recommend this for everyone looking for a job right now. Why?


    • it’s serves a similar purpose as the cover letter, but it’s shorter and on your actual resume, which is most likely to get printed and distributed
    • it’s the perfect way to sum your experiences in a few sentences, which you could later use as an introduction (or elevator pitch) at a networking event (I use two sentences, max)
    • it’s quick and easy to rework to fit the job description, so you show what you can offer the employer (better than an objective, which is focused only on what you want)

    You would think I would get sick of trying to sell myself with a tailored Profile section for every employer, but it’s dramatically increased the number of interview requests I receive.

    That’s what personal branding is all about to me – tailored sound bites that quickly communicate a value proposition to the person or company you are selling to. Even if you aren’t job hunting, it’s good practice to tweak your personal brand for various industries and employers, so you always communicate your value when meeting someone, rather than simply stating what you do.

    Prompts to create your profile

    I can manage my various personal branding sound bites quickly and simply by using the answers I get from these 10 prompts:

    1. What is the value I bring to this job that others can’t?
    2. Why should this employer hire me?
    3. Why do I want to be in this industry?
    4. Why is this company the right size/culture/fit/location/position for me?
    5. Why should this employer fight to employ me?
    6. What business need can I solve for this employer?
    7. What parts of this job would I be very good at?
    8. What kind of personality traits is this employer looking for, and how do I fit?
    9. What are the reservations this employer might have about hiring me (based on my past professional experience), and how can I reassure him?
    10. What risks is this employer taking by hiring me, and how can I mitigate those?
    11. BONUS: How will I help this company, make money, save money, or save time? (Tip: this question especially should be addressed throughout your resume)

    Here’s are a few examples of some of the sound bites I’ve written:

    Monica O’Brien is an MBA Marketing candidate with proven experience using technology and web marketing techniques to sell SaaS products, improve client relationships, and build company brands.

    Monica O’Brien is an MBA candidate and 6Sigma Green Belt with project management experience leading web development projects. She has proven ability to work at all steps in a software development life cycle.

    These two sound bites emphasize completely different skill sets, tailored to what the employer cares about.2944407755_457a1a4d18

    Because this is a sound bite, you need not incorporate the answers to all of these questions into your elevator pitch or a Profile section on your resume. One or two answers is probably more than enough material, and you will find that different questions produce more suitable answers than others, depending on the situation.

    Good luck using these prompts! Now, I’m getting back to resume writing.


    Monica O’Brien writes career advice for young professionals at her blog, Twenty Set. You can also follow her on Twitter (@monicaobrien).

    Monica O’Brien is an MBA candidate with years of experience in business, strategy, and technology. She currently consults start-ups in the Chicago area on establishing their social media strategies. Monica attends the Chicago Booth School of Business (at the University of Chicago), currently ranked the #1 MBA program in the country by BusinessWeek, and is one of the 2007 Chicago Business Fellows. She concentrates in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship. Monica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Physics, from Truman State University. Her blog, Twenty Set, gives career advice to young professionals. Monica writes candidly about her own experiences. She has also written for Mashable and ProBlogger, and has been featured in major publications like the Christian Science Monitor.

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