CR Fletcher

2010 Greater Syracuse Business of the Year
C.R. Fletcher Associates, Inc.
Certified NYS Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE)

Personal Branding ~ A blog by Corey O’Neill

While job searching and actively interviewing for a new career opportunity, it is essential that you separate yourself from the rest of the herd.  Personal branding is a tool which if utilized can land you your next career opportunity.  Other than your documented experiences and successes, personal branding is a great and easy way to set yourself apart amongst other qualified candidates by making you memorable, recognizable, and presenting value to your interviewer.

Personal branding is a valuable tool that can be used not only during interviews, but also during final negotiations, initial networking and just casually speaking with people in public.  Unlike other tricky interview questions, the “tell me a little about yourself?” question is easy to prepare for because you know its coming in one form or another!

The idea behind personal branding is to present a clear personal representation of your upbringing, professional accomplishments, career goals and aspirations.  It should paint the picture of how you got to this point in your career and why your experiences and accomplishments will be valuable to the opportunity available.

A personal branding statement is an easy way to creatively make your interviewer remember you.  It should be somewhat brief, but descriptive, and should tell your story as both a professional and as a person.  Don’t be afraid to spice it up with some personal information. This information might make a connection with your interviewer which could land you an offer!  For example, “I went to High school at CBA and played baseball and basketball and was successful for four years which enabled me to achieve my goal of playing collegiate basketball for Cazenovia.”  That explains a lot about yourself: you’re competitive, you can work with a team, and you were able to achieve a goal you set out to do.  This also opens lines of communication; maybe your interviewer went to CBA or knows someone who also went to Cazenovia which can strike up a conversation and will connect you to your interviewer.  Creating these opportunities are ways to imprint yourself into the interviewer’s memory.

The challenge is being able to understand how to start your personal speech and keeping it valuable and relevant to the conversation.  In an article written in 2010 by Scott Ginsberg, he outlines ten different ways to start your personal branding statement.

  1. “I can summarize who I am in three words.”  Grabs their attention immediately.  Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative, and compelling.
  2. “The quotation I live my life by is…”  Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan.  Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.
  3. “My personal philosophy is…”  Companies hire athletes – not shortstops.  This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.
  4. “People who know me best say that I’m…”  This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.
  5. “Well, I Googled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…”  Tech-savvy, fun, cool people would say this.  Unexpected and memorable.
  6. “My passion is…”  People don’t care what you do… people care who you are, and what you’re passionate about is who you are.  Plus, passion      unearths enthusiasm.
  7. “When I was seven years old, I always wanted to be…”  An answer like this shows that you’ve been preparing for this job your whole life, not just the night before.
  8. “If Hollywood made a move about my life, it would be called…”  Engaging, interesting, and entertaining.
  9. “Can I show you, instead of tell you?”  Then pull something out of your pocket that represents who you are.  Who could resist this answer?  Who could forget this answer?
  10. “The compliment people give me most frequently is…”  Almost like a testimonial, this response also indicates self-awareness and openness to feedback.

While some of those are a little extreme, the idea is to make yourself standout, make them interested in you instead of just what is on your resume.

Summary

  1. Your interview is about you defining your value to the company.  Your personal brand should clearly define that value.
  2. Be prepared for it.  From an interviewer’s standpoint, how can a candidate understand a job without understanding their own accomplishments and goals?
  3. Be confident. If you are not confident in your past, you won’t be confident in the future.
  4. The interviewer just wants to see you answer quickly, smoothly, and creatively showing self awareness.
  5. Be ready for your speech at all times because you never know when your next opportunity may arise or when you meet someone who could help you.

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