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One of the first steps for a successful executive job search is defining your personal brand. My personal branding worksheet below will help you pinpoint the things about you that make you a good fit for the employers you want to work for.
The other initial steps are:
- Targeting – determining which employers are a mutual good fit, and
- Research – finding out what challenges your target employers are facing that you are uniquely qualified to help them with.
Along with branding, these 3 things form the foundation that informs every aspect of your job search.
First, a little history about branding
Tom Peters ignited the business world in 1997 with his personal branding manifesto on Fast Company, THE BRAND CALLED YOU.
“You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. Start thinking like your own favorite brand manager. Ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.
Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or your colleagues. What have you done lately — this week — to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait?”
Your brand is your reputation – the perception of you held by the external world. It is the combination of personal attributes, values, drivers, strengths, and passions you draw from. These are the things that differentiate your unique promise of value from your competitors.
Your brand helps those assessing you determine if they should hire you or do business with you.
You need to identify those qualities and characteristics within you. Further, communicate a crystal clear, consistent message across multiple channels – online and offline. Design your message to resonate with your target audience.
More and more executive job seekers are embracing personal branding
If you’re someone who thinks personal branding is the same thing as bragging, so you want no part of it, watch this video. It should help you see that you’re not thinking about this in the right way.
Fortunately, more and more savvy job seekers these days have some understanding of the value of personal branding. Therefore, they are more willing than ever to do the necessary work.
They understand that, in today’s executive job search environment, many of their competitors have done the branding work. So they also have to leverage this strategy, just to keep pace with them.
My Personal Branding Worksheet
Below you’ll find part of my basic personal branding worksheet, similar to the one I use with my clients.
Most importantly, as you do this worksheet and then use it to create your personal brand messaging, keep your target employers in mind.
What personal qualities and other qualifications of yours align with what these companies or organizations need?
This will lead you toward employers who are a mutual good fit. These are the employers who will benefit the most from your expertise. They are the employers who will bring you career fulfillment.
And be empathetic. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who will be assessing you for the jobs you want – employers, recruiters and other hiring professionals.
- Make it easy for them to find the information about you (in your resume, LinkedIn profile, etc.) that tells them you’re a good fit for them.
- Make it easy for them to draw a direct line from your qualifications to how you operate on the job, and how you will be a “fixer” for them.
- Make it clear to them when you network and in interviews that you have what they need, so you’re a good hiring choice.
Let these things drive the way you promote yourself in your resume and other marketing materials, and how you navigate your job search.
1. Who is your target audience and why do they need you?
Determine what kind of work you want to do (job position and industry). Then identify which companies and organizations will afford you the opportunity to work your passion. Determine what hiring decision makers in that field are looking for in candidates.
In addition, research your target list of companies.
- What problems are they facing right now that you have experience with?
- How will you be a “fixer” for them, hitting the ground running?
Identify and keep track of the keywords you see associated with the necessary qualifications. You’ll use these keywords throughout your supporting documents and especially in your LinkedIn profile and other online presence.
You’ll find my separate worksheets for these things here:
- How to Build Your Executive Job Search Target Companies List
- Best Ways and Places to Research Your Target Employers
Create your personal brand messaging (resume, LinkedIn profile, bio, email communications, etc.) around the keywords and content that will attract your target employers.
Further, find out where those decision makers hang out, in person and online. Position yourself in front of them. Capture their attention and stay top-of-mind with them.
2. What are your vision and purpose?
Look externally at the bigger picture of your vision for the world. Look internally at how you might help the world realize your vision.
Think about one world problem you would like to see solved. Consider one area of life that you want to see transformed or improved. This is your vision. What role might you play in making your vision happen? This is your purpose.
Along with finding career fulfillment, these things will help you better align yourself with companies and organizations that will be a good culture fit for both of you.
3. What are your values?
Your values are your guiding principles – things like:
Balance, being the best, agility, calmness, challenge, decisiveness, perseverance, drive, honesty, integrity, pragmatism, sensitivity, structure, teamwork, sharing, vitality, zeal
As with vision and purpose, knowing your top values helps you choose employers whose values match yours.
4. What are your passions?
What do you most enjoy doing – in your personal life and work life? Think about the activities, interests, or conversational topics that fascinate and energize you.
For instance, your passions may make you get out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning. They get you talking enthusiastically with others. Think about how your passions converge with what you do best at work.
We all perform better and have more job satisfaction when we’re doing work that, at least in some part, satisfies our passions.
5. What are your top personal brand attributes?
People hire people they feel they know and like. Employers prefer those who they feel will work well with their other employees.
- How do you define your personality?
- What words do those around you (at work and elsewhere) use to describe you?
- Which personality traits define how you make things happen?
Identify 3 or 4 adjectives that best describe the value you offer. Consult a thesaurus to nail the exact words. Your brand attributes may be one or more of these:
Collaborative, resilient, forward-focused, risk-taking, connected, international, visionary, diplomatic, intuitive, precise, enterprising, ethical, genuine, accessible
In your job search materials, networking and interviewing, use storytelling to vividly illustrate how you use your best attributes to get things done on the job and how those attributes benefitted your past employers.
Get the Full Worksheet to Define Your Personal Brand
The 5 steps above represent just a portion of my branding worksheet. The full worksheet covers a lot more ground, with several further steps to help you dig deep and differentiate your unique value proposition.
I’m offering the full personal branding worksheet . . . the actual proprietary worksheet I use with my clients to help them land jobs they covet and deserve.
Along with the full personal branding worksheet itself, you’ll get:
- Information on how and why branding works
- Strategies to put your brand into action
- Dozens of DIY resources and tips to help you write your own resume and LinkedIn profile.
In all, you’ll get 20+ pages of content to define, differentiate and communicate your personal brand.
Get my full personal branding worksheet (with all the extras noted above) . . . OR the complete package of my 4 proprietary executive job search worksheets.
Along with the Personal Branding worksheet, the complete worksheet package includes my 3 other proprietary worksheets and so much more:
- Job Search Targeting & Research Worksheet
- Career History Worksheet
- Biography Worksheet
- Numerous resources and DIY tips and strategies to help you land the job you want.
Read about and purchase the worksheets here.
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Bonnie Ferrero says
I have ignored my personal brand for far to long, I appreciate the actionable steps, it’s makes the whole process seem less intimidating.
I’m going to share this with my colleagues on Facebook.
Meg Guiseppi says
I’m so glad my post is spurring you to action, to work on personal branding. It will help you differentiate the unique value you offer, over others. Many thanks for commenting, and for sharing my post.
Cletus Nunes says
Very well written article, Meg!
Meg Guiseppi says
Many thanks for your kind comment, Cletus. Much appreciated!
iole matthews says
Great article with some really useful tips – i find one of hardest things for executives is to re frame their experience in terms of personal branding when one of the key leadership skills is sharing success with a team and not making it about YOU. In a job search the shift form “we” to “me” can be quite difficult
Meg Guiseppi says
Thank you for commenting, Iole. I also find that my c-suite executive clients have a hard time transitioning from “we” to “me”, and zeroing in on their personal unique value.
Reading through this article, it has a lot of insight to how to brand and market yourself. While branding and marketing yourself really helps make you standout amongst the rest of possible candidates !
Meg Guiseppi says
Katelin, you’re right. Personal branding is a method to help us differentiate and stand out among our peers and competitors. Thank you for commenting!