The topic of “personal branding” has emerged as a white-hot issue in the career management field, particularly because individual candidates (even at the executive level) are discovering that sophisticated branding principles are what’s needed in order to separate themselves from the pack in a highly commoditized labor market. This being the case, it’s important to realize that successful branding involves more than just coming up with a few catchy slogans and a nifty elevator pitch. It’s also about your actions, and attitudes, and whether these non-verbal components add up to create a winning impression on each person you meet during the course of your search.
As a quick test of the impression you’re likely sending out to people, ask yourself:
— Do you come across as somewhat lost or unfocused around your career goals — or do you seem crystal-clear about the kinds of problems you can solve for an employer and what you want to do next?
— Do you appear to be floundering around making random contacts — or do you seem to have a serious and solid game plan in place that you’re consistently following in pursuit of your next opportunity?
— Do you give off any signs of desperation, anxiety, depression, or cynicism — or do you seem confident in your eventual success and appear to be largely in control of your destiny?
— Do you create the impression that you expect somebody to “save you” with a magic referral — or are you systematically generating fresh leads, conversations, and opportunities via your own efforts?
— Do you only contact people when you need help or have run out of other options — or do you keep people regularly updated on your progress and the “wins” you experience during your search?
As I’m sure you’d agree, many job seekers fall into the former category on a number of these questions, and their “brand value” therefore becomes compromised in terms of their ability to generate quality leads and referrals. If you’re a professional in transition, therefore, it’s imperative that you pay as much attention to your attitude itself as to the words you’re saying and the language you incorporate into your resume. Everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon of a “winner” even if they’re between assignments at the moment; give off the opposite impression, however, and you could be in for a long haul!