by Nancy J. Miller
You show your brand through the story you tell about yourself.
When you tell an exciting story you connect with people so they will like you, care about you, and want to work with you. As Quint Careers Associate Publisher Katharine Hansen writes in her book, Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career, "Knowing how to tell your story makes you unique and gives the interviewer something to like about you." When people like you and the story you tell about your passions and interests, they will remember you when they need your skills and abilities -- whether you are interviewing for a job, attracting clients, or business partners.
You market yourself when you have a title for your story -- when you can say in a few words what your story is about. An author sums up his or her story with an attractive title and book cover that grabs the attention of the prospective audience. When the author is asked, "What is your book about?", a one- or two-minute description entices the audience to want to know more about the story. When you effectively brand your skills for business or employment, you are able to sum up your strengths and skills in a sentence or two. When you put a title to your skills and expertise, you market your brand and energize yourself to take action.
The idea of branding is to give your audience something to remember about you -- a way to draw in your audience -- to feed a want or need. As Nick Nanton and J.W. Dicks describe in their Fast Company Magazine article, "How To Brand Yourself Like A Celebrity (Even If You Think You're Not That Special):"
"...it's not good enough simply to be considered good at what you do; you also need to be memorable. You need to stick in the minds of potential clients, so that when they need your services, you are the first person they think of."
As you consider your personal brand, think about the impression you want to make. You choose how you want your audience to feel about the business of you. Is your story a drama, a mystery, or an exciting adventure? Your story comes to life as you use effective communication skills to build your network and develop a healthy lifestyle to energize your job search.
Effective Communication is the Key to Building Your Network
The majority of jobs are still obtained through networking -- building a network, meeting new people, making personal contacts, and/or showing leadership through professional associations. The more personal contacts, referrals, and introductions you have, the better your chances of finding the opportunities you desire.
Whether you start with an online resume, email, or introduction through social media, you will want to talk to a person either by phone or in person. It takes practice! Most people need to learn and practice their communication skills to get comfortable meeting new people and building relationships.
As you get familiar with your story and comfortable talking about your accomplishments, begin expanding your network. Find like-minded people to meet with through social media and association but also do something out of your comfort zone to build character and make new contacts.
Your influence has no limit as you expand your network. Make a list of people you know. If your list is short, then build a relationship with someone who has a large network. Others may have a very different personality from yours. Appreciate their strengths and value your differences. You will open up a whole new world of relationships.
Final Thoughts: Looking Happy, Healthy, and Vibrant Attracts Others to You
An important part of showing who you are is to be the best you can be. Create a healthy lifestyle to look vibrant, energetic, and ready to take on challenges that arise in your business and workplace.
You know the importance of fresh air, exercise, and healthy eating, but you may not think of health and vitality as adding value to your brand. When you look healthy and energetic, people like you and want to be around you. Customers will want to do business with you, and employers will call you back. As you infuse energy into your work, you will be seen as part of solutions rather than problems. Your story, your value, and your energy are all part of your enticing brand.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2012.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Enhance your career brand! Find great articles, tools, and resources for developing your personal career brand, as well as key self-marketing techniques to get hired or promoted in our Personal Branding & Career Self-Marketing Tools for Job-Seekers and Career Activists.