Most job seekers use traditional job search techniques, branding resumes functionally and by level. You need to customize personal branding in order to stand out.
However, some smart job seekers customize their personal brand, fitting individual employer needs.
The traditional method: Functional and management level branding
Traditional job search techniques had been the same for generations since the typewriter was invented.
In traditional job search, you were taught to create a single version of you resume and have it printed. Since it was impossible to customize a printed resume, you were taught to customize it with a cover letter. When job search went digital, instead of having your resume printed, you used it to submit to jobs electronically or send via email. These job search techniques are the basis of traditional job search methods taught even today.
Traditional job search methods taught candidates to use similar tactics, adopting the same old job search to be sent to job boards, online applications and email.
Today’s version of traditional job search teaches candidates to send the same resume (or one with minor tweaks) to all the jobs applied for, customizing with a cover letter.
In traditional job search techniques where you only use minor modification of your resume, you’re not taught to modify your personal brand for the specific job applied for. Instead you’ve been taught to brand yourself for a job function and level – accountant, programmer, customer service, operations; staff, manager, director.
Traditional branding example: Marketing Analyst
Most of you take the traditional way because it’s easy – using a personal brand that reflects your job function and level. You don’t have to know anything about the employer or what they need to brand yourself using job function and level. It worked fine until there was a better way.
Functional/Level branding would be fine if all companies used the exact same titles for comparable jobs and if all companies had the exact same needs. That perfect world would make it far easier to create a resume that matched exactly what an employer is looking for.
… but they don’t – it’s not a perfect world.
The non-traditional method: Customize personal branding to exactly match the opportunity
It’s much more effective to exactly match your personal brand to what an employer is looking for.
Guess what … The typewriter is no longer today’s top communication tool.
Just like there’s a better way than a typewriter, there are more effective ways to communicate that you’re the right candidate – Customized branding
To use customized branding for your resume, your first step is to learn what the employer’s needs truly are. To make a superior personal brand, you need superior information.
Superior information isn’t on the job description. It’s not publicly available. It’s not on the employer’s website or financial statements. And it’s not on Google. So where is it?
There’s only one place you’ll find superior information to learn about the hiring manager’s needs and priorities … Inside the employer. You need inside information. You need to talk to people inside the company, inside the hiring manager’s department.
How else could you learn what the hiring manager’s problems are? What priorities the hiring manager has? What skills gaps exist inside the hiring manager’s department?
If you’re looking for this information on the web, on the employer’s website, on Google … you’ll find information – old information. You’ll find information about the problems the hiring manager has already solved. But you won’t learn what the hiring manager is working on now, nor the problems your hiring manager expects to face in the next six months.
Even today, few candidates use customized branding, because it takes more work – but it’s way more effective. Since few use this method, you have an outstanding way … to stand out.
Now you’ve seen two ways to brand yourself – the easy way and the effective way.
Which will you choose?