When I started the career search process during the second year of my MBA program, I encountered a serious challenge. Having multiple talents, strengths and potential career paths, I was faced with the daunting task of having to identify and communicate my value in a single word.
It was thanks to a class visit by Frank Lane, Brand Entrepreneur and Author of Killer Brands, that I learned how to formally brand myself. At the end of his talk, he asked us to participate in an exercise that he thought might help us in our ongoing job search efforts. The exercise involved writing down our top 3 to 5 strengths and then identifying a word or phrase that tied them together and could become our personal brand. I listed my strengths as energy, creativity, problem-solving and relationship-building. The only word that I could think of that could tie them all together was “generator,” for I generate lots of energy, I generate creative ideas and solutions, and I generate strong relationships so to build durable, cohesive and productive teams. Thus, my personal brand was born.
I quickly and consistently incorporated my personal brand in all of my career search outputs, including my resume, my cover letter, my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, my emails and anything else that I thought might meet the eyes of a potential employer or career stakeholder.
Furthermore, I reached out through my professional network and through LinkedIn for informational interviews and shared my personal brand and supporting pitch with them in our conversations. One such conversation led to an onsite interview where I also shared my personal brand as the answer to the question, “Why should we pick you over all of these other top candidates?” My personal brand gave the interviewer something that he clearly remembered as he mentioned it to me later that day. While there are many factors that may have contributed to my resulting offer, I believe it was my ability to consistently communicate my value in one memorable brand that assisted me in successfully achieving my current employment.
It was also through my own personal brand-building and development efforts that I discovered how much I enjoy helping others create and communicate their own personal brands, both in their job searches and beyond.
I cannot tell you what an honor it is to have been asked to become a strategic partner and contributing member of the TalentCulture community. In alignment with my personal brand, one of my objectives with Career Rocketeer has been to generate relationships with the industry’s top experts and bring them together into one common forum where we can all share our experiences, advice and insight with others. It is exciting to see that TalentCulture is another community with a similar mission. I look forward to serving this community in any way that I can.
Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.