As an active job seeker, you probably have a good idea of what a personal brand is. Even if you think you understand, you still might be struggling to define your personal brand. There’s a simple solution you may not have considered: interview yourself.
If you’re struggling to define your personal brand, you should put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Ask yourself questions similar to those that would be asked in a job interview. Your answers to these questions will help you shape your brand. Some questions to ask yourself include:
What are my short and long-term goals?
Think about your career goals and the type of jobs for which you’re applying. Consider the types of companies you’re interested in, the industry, and the roles. What do you want to get out of the job? All of these are important details to determine in shaping your personal brand. In a job interview, you’ll want to talk about things that are relevant to that specific company, but for yourself you can be completely honest. Figure out what you want your career to look like.
How do my experiences make me the best fit for the position?
Now that you know what you want, you need to determine what will help you get there. Look back to all of your previous experiences (internships, volunteering, jobs, professional organizations, etc.) and evaluate your accomplishments. Think about the ones that are directly relevant to your ideal job and which one makes you most proud. Devise accomplishment stories you can share with potential employers. Having tangible success is essential for your personal brand.
What are my strengths?
Evaluate your soft skills: communication, leadership, collaboration, organization, drive, and so on. Which of these do you want people to associate with you and which ones will help you the most in your career? Figure out where you are strongest and think about examples to go with them. Now your brand can say, “I’m John Smith, a strong communicator and effective leader.” Your soft skills are just as important to your brand as your specific experiences.
What makes me different than other candidates?
Find some combination of your experience and soft skills that make you unique. In what areas do you truly shine? This is your hook. Employers want to know why they should hire you over all other candidates up for the position. Figure out that perfect element that makes you special and use it. Share it in every bio, cover letter, and job interview. This is the most important element of your brand.
Interviewing yourself as a job seeker will allow you to better understand what you have to offer and how you can showcase your strengths. After answering these questions, you should have a much firmer grasp on how to market your personal brand to employers.