Landing a New Job: It’s Not a Game, It’s Your Personal Brand

-Companies turn to specialists in talent acquisition and deployment to find the best people to fit their organizational objectives and goals. As talent specialists, whether it’s a Talent Acquisition Manager, Corporate Recruiter, or Employment Agency, these professionals use best practices, tools, and procedures that apply scientific methods to the hiring process.

If we are defining the job description that includes the functional, technical and behavioral aspects of the job n our organization to find an individual with these characteristics that will make them successful.  Key to gaining this understanding is defining your value.  That means your unique strengths or, in the language of the science, competencies.

In our workshops, we take a deep-dive into each individual’s strengths and accomplishments to define their personal brand. The concept of branding is widely understood when applied to products and media celebrities, but sometimes gets overlooked as the foundation of the career transition process.

When we meet someone who has recently lost their job, their immediate reaction is, “I have to update my resume”. They are in the process of stage of dealing with this life-loss.  They voice shifting into “highly reactive mode” as they move between the stages of loss: denial, anger, panic, and the very tricky emotional state, depression.  A huge “Delta”, referring to the Greek alphabetic scientific symbol for change, has been thrown at your stability bubble, and its burst.

Those of you that have attended my presentations on transition will recognize the “Life Transitions Graphic” above. That lovely green “stable” bubble gets thrown a pointed Δ [Delta]. Ouch. Boom. Having our “stability zone” “popped” is not a pleasant life experience.

In a 1997 article entitled, “The Brand Called You”, that appeared in FastCompany Magazine, Thomas J. Peters said, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.  It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.”

Tom Peters wrote this over ten years ago. We cannot stress the important of this statement enough in today’s job market. It is an inescapable milestone in your career in this age of short attention-span communication to develop your brand. If you don’t take the time and effort, you will be feeling the “tire marks” of your competition on your back as “the bus runs over” you in the marketplace – fast.

So, isn’t branding, game playing?

Not in any way, shape or form. Millions of dollars are spent on branding; it is essential to successful business in the 21st Century.  Maintaining a credible brand for a product or personality can “make it” or “break it”. What comes to mind when you hear “Lance Armstrong” or “VA Hospitals”. Would you agree, five years ago you may have had a more positive impression of these brands; today, maybe not so much?

In the arena of human capital, it is essential to define your value – your brand.  That’s where science comes in.

At Career Transitions Center West Michigan, we invested a great deal of effort in choosing the tools that we would use in assisting our members through the process of defining their value. We use cost-effective tools with extremely remarkable depth for the cost, combined with the expertise of our coaching/mentoring team, to accomplish this effort. And it is an effort.  This is the foundation work for your strategic plan for “Me, Inc.”

You will begin to appreciate the science of talent. As we explore in “Knowing Yourself”, there are three aspects that define a position within an organization:

  • Functional  – How the position works within the organization; if you will, how the “box” looks on the organizational chart
  • Technical   –   The tools needed in the “tool box” of the individual to be successful in implementing the work required of the position.
  • Behavioral  –   The behavioral qualities for success in the role defined by the functional and technical requirements of the position.

So how can you speak to meeting a hiring manager’s goals if you can’t define what it is that you as a unique individual have that hiring manager would value on their team to meet those goals? In Human Resources “speak”, what are your differentiators?

Key to maximizing your time in the yellow bubble of “limitality” as you move towards defining the new life ahead is taking time to reflect rather than react. As you work through this reflection stage, turning your internal gyroscope from reactive to proactive energy, the milestone in this process is defining your brand. It’s all about your unique talents and accomplishments that will take you to the next step in your career.

We founded Career Transitions Center West Michigan to provide the expertise in this process. Trying to define your brand effectively takes input from professionals and peers.

Using family and friends in the process can strain your relationships; finding a support system in the process will get you to your branding milestone faster.

It’s hard work and having those that understand, practice, and develop the science of human development, just as personal trainers do at the gym, will get you to your goal faster, safer, and teach you life-lessons to keep you healthy in the process. We know not everyone can afford a career coach; that’s why our volunteers take their time and talent to offer it to our fellow citizens in West Michigan to help move them forward to their “Next Step”.

Hiring in the 21st Century has nothing to do with gamesmanship or probability. It is about science. As Tom Peters tells us,

“It’s that simple – and that hard.”

Copyright © M. P. Fuger, 2011. All rights reserved,


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