In today’s competitive job market, it’s important that candidates are able to set themselves apart and know what makes them the best candidate for the job or internship. You need to know who you are and what you have to offer to a company. It’s about building a “personal brand” that clearly identifies the value that you will bring to a company based on your past experiences, skills, abilities, qualities, knowledge, personality traits, etc. Your “personal brand” needs to be conveyed consistently in your personal marketing plan.
Today building a personal marketing plan is not just about having a good resume. It’s about having a GREAT resume and much more! Your personal marketing plan may include the following:
- Resumes: Your resume should highlight what you have to offer based on your past experiences and accomplishments and the skills you can offer, and should reflect the brand you want to convey. Most importantly, your resume is a marketing tool — it needs to fit the position you’re applying for. Making a great first impression is a critical component of the job search process, and having a quality targeted resume is one way to make a great impression. A “one resume fits all” approach is not recommended.
- Cover Letters: In today’s job market, a cover letter isn’t always required, but if it is or if it’s optional, writing a cover letter that clearly conveys why you’re interested in a position and a company, and the value you can offer the company based on the qualifications they’re seeking, can be a great way to differentiate you from other candidates. However, if you write a cover letter, it must be tailored to the company and position, and it needs to be very well written. If it’s not well written, it will usually hurt you more than it will help you.
- Interest Emails: In place of a formal business letter cover letter, you might have the option of submitting an interest email along with your resume. If that’s the case, the same rules apply as when writing a cover letter. It’s just in email format.
- Portfolio: If you want to show an employer what you can offer, you might want to consider putting together examples of your best work from papers you’ve written and projects you’ve worked on in school, work, volunteer experiences, involvement with clubs/organizations, etc. You can create an online portfolio, and include the portfolio URL on your resume and LinkedIn profile, or you can create a hard copy portfolio and bring copies with you to interviews to provide to employers.
- Online Brand: Have you Googled yourself lately? If so, what’s out there on the web that you would or wouldn’t want an employer to know? The world of social media, in particular, is constantly changing and can have an impact on your professional brand. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile which can help you market yourself, as well as help you connect with other professionals. If you have a Twitter, if you have a blog, or if you’re on YouTube, are you using those tools for professional purposes? If you have a Facebook account, is there anything on there you wouldn’t want an employer to see? Have you updated your Facebook privacy settings recently so that people who don’t know you can’t access your information? Whatever is online, make sure it enhances your professional brand and doesn’t hurt it.
- Professional Image: The way you look and present yourself are an important part of your professional brand. First impressions are always important whether it’s at the office, going to a Career Fair, or going into a job/internship interview. You want people to remember you in a positive way from their interaction with you. And you want to remember that you’re not only representing yourself, but your company, your school, your graduate program, etc. Focus on having a polished professional image that will enhance your professional brand.
- Personal Business Cards: Business cards aren’t only for those people who are employed. If you are someone who plans to network and if you want people to remember you, create personal business cards that you can exchange with other professionals. Personal business cards are also an extension of your brand, so think about the content you want to include on them. You might want to consider listing your career interests or a few of your key strengths, in addition to your contact information.
What is your personal brand and how can we help you present your brand in your personal marketing plan?