You're qualified for every position you pursue, and you know that while there may be others who have more to offer at this stage in their careers than you do, you're certainly no slouch. You have the education, the experience, the skills, and the drive you need to hold any position you want. So why are employers treating you like a forgettable face in a crowd? Why are you constantly being overlooked and pushed to the side with a weak explanation or no explanation at all?
You may have a branding problem. That is to say, employers may be overlooking you not because you lack credentials, but because your credentials are presented in a loose, disorganized, and incoherent way. You're coming off as a walking fact sheet, a human list of forgettable, disconnected bullet points. Here's how to turn your laundry list of credentials into a story. And not just any story: A great story.
1. Identify your value proposition
A "value proposition" is a marketing term that refers to the primary, central offering of a product or service. For example, a car can be stylish, fast, safe, reliable, and fuel-efficient. But as advertisers shape their brand and target their message to a single audience, like new parents, they reduce all these offerings to one. Then they present that case in a simple sentence: "This car will keep you safe." Do that for your personal brand. What can you offer that your specific employers need? Study your target audience and then complete the following sentence: "This employee will….."
2. Determine how others see you
What you see as your unique offering may differ from what others around you might see. While you may think of yourself as a terrific technician, it's possible that your previous employers found you an average technician, but they loved your enthusiasm – or your diplomacy, or your leadership skill. Factor this into your value proposition.
3. Choose a signature
You are no longer just Steve. You are "Steve, The Employee Who Will…" So who is this guy? For starters, choose a signature color for him. If red represents passion and dedication, blue represents a cool and logical temperament, green represents creativity, and yellow suggests a positive sunny outlook, what color reminds people of the new Steve? Once you've settled on a color and a basic persona, work both of them into the very fiber of your application. Think of cool blue or fiery red as you draft your cover letter and resume summary. And actually work this color into the clothes you wear on the day of your interview (choose a red tie or blue blouse to wear under your suit jacket.)
4. Work your signature into your online persona
Now that you have a short, clear story to tell and a memorable persona and signature, you'll need to take control of how this story plays out online. Employers will probably type your name into a search engine at some point during the selection process, and they'll draw impressions from anything they find. You can't control all of this information, of course, but make sure you hold a tight grip on the impression left by your blog, your website, and your public social media profiles. Tighten up your message across all three with a clear vision of New Steve in mind. Again, do whatever you can to keep his story clear, simple, cohesive, and memorable.
Present Your Best Side to Potential Employers
Need help tightening up your persona and polishing your brand? Turn to LiveCareer and start with your resume. Use our sophisticated resume building tool to format your document and build a point-by-point message that weaves tightly around your value proposition. Once your resume lands you an interview, visit LiveCareer again for practice interview sessions that can help you keep your brand focused and strong throughout the entire screening process.