The Biggest Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Mistake

by Meg Guiseppi on November 18, 2013

Targeting for Personal Branding and Executive Job Search

What’s the first step when you’re about to dive into a job search?

Create your resume, or update your existing one, so you can hit the job boards hard right away?


The biggest mistake too many job seekers make from the get-go is skipping over the critical first step – identifying target employers that are a mutual good fit.

How can you expect to have a successful job search or a compelling personal brand without knowing who you’re targeting and writing your personal marketing content for?

How can you write about what makes you a good fit for a company, if you don’t know what challenges specific companies are facing right now, so you can align your qualifications with their pressing needs?

How can you define your personal brand around differentiating the unique value you offer the employers you’ll be reaching out to – in terms of your driving personal attributes, strengths, passions and other good-fit qualities – if you don’t know anything about who they are, their needs and their corporate culture?

You won’t be able to create brand messaging that will speak to your promise of value and resonate with specific employers, helping them picture you there at work for them, positively impacting their company.

You can’t write a resume (or other career documents, LinkedIn profile, Google+ profile, other online profiles, etc.) that will accelerate your job search, if you jump right over that first step.

Here’s what you need to do, to execute the targeting and researching part of your job search campaign:

Compile a list of 15-20 (or more) target companies.

Research each company and your industry.

Look for well-written job descriptions (even if the geographical location isn’t right for you) that look like a good fit. They will be loaded with the relevant keywords that need to be in your resume, and will outline required qualifications and skill sets.

Make a list of the keywords, areas of expertise, qualifications and skill sets that crop up consistently in your research.

Write down specific examples, with metrics, of contributions and accomplishments you made in the past in those areas, to demonstrate your ROI value.

Search for the hiring decision makers at each company, that you’ll work on networking towards, once you start your job search.

If you don’t do these things, you’ll end up with generic personal marketing content – trying to cover too many bases and failing at differentiating your value. In all likelihood, none of it will hit home with anyone.

Know where you want to go, what their needs are, and what makes you valuable to them, so you can focus all your job search efforts – including networking and job interviewing – and all your personal marketing in one direction.

Make it very clear that you’re the right person, in every respect, for the job you’re targeting.

If you’re not really a good fit, and you know it, then you’re probably wasting everyone’s time by reaching out to those people, no matter how great you think your marketing materials are.

Related posts:

Executive Job Search: Research Your Target Employers

10 Steps to an Authentic, Magnetic Personal Brand

How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Resume in 10 Steps

How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding

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