Have you been trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to get the job of your dreams? If you want to market yourself successfully to get the job you want, you’ve got to ask yourself a very important question: What’s your brand? And if you can’t answer it, or you find your “brand” has been meeting with closed doors, it may be time to brand (or re-brand) yourself for success.
So what is your brand, exactly? Your brand is how you carry yourself and the vibe you give off to others. It includes how you speak, what you say, who you hang with and what you do. It also includes other qualities that define how people see you. And it really does matter; seventy-seven percent of marketers say branding is critical to future growth.
If your current brand hasn’t gotten you where you want to go in your career, it’s time to re-brand yourself to be taken seriously by the people in the field you want to be in. We're going to take a quick dive into pop culture to simplify the idea of personal branding.
Remember the now classic movie, Legally Blonde? Elle Woods was a ditzy blond sorority girl who managed to get into law school to get her boyfriend back. Nobody would take her seriously. For a moment, she gave up who she was to become what everyone expected, but was miserable—that is until she upped her game by becoming what she needed to be to survive law school, peppered of course by her own spunky, colorful personality.
That’s the way your brand has to be.
Don’t give up ‘You’. Instead, find new ways to express yourself while recreating yourself to fit the image for the role you want!
Here are 3 more things that Elle Woods taught us from the early 2000s flick that are completely relevant to today’s job seekers.
Define your goal
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Elle may not have known the end of the road, but she had a single vision from the start: to get her man back. And that led her to law school. Once there, her vision expanded and she became determined to go the distance and pass the bar exam to become a real, honest-to-goodness lawyer. Do you think she would have gotten there if she wandered around Harvard unsure of why she was even there? We think (actually, we know) not.
When defining your personal brand, don’t be afraid to get creative. In fact, creativity may just send your application to the front of the stack. Remember the video accompanying Elle’s Harvard application in lieu of a traditional essay? Considering that 90% of resumes follow the same, standard (often translated, dull) format, it wouldn’t hurt to shake things up a bit. Being different can make you stand out so you can have the opportunity to show what you’re truly made of.
Dare to be different (or yourself, for that matter)
While you certainly want to portray an image of someone who can do the job well, never be afraid to show a little color, sparkle, wit, humor or whatever it is that gives you your special edge. Remember Elle’s pink resume? The pink business suit? Did you know that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%? And while you should still follow the general rules of professionalism, showing your fun and creative side along with your expertise may just help you get the job.
Authenticity goes a long way in the job market. So go ahead. Brand yourself as the fun, creative, eloquent professional that you are.