Misconceptions flourish about personal branding, and what actually goes into a brand statement. Your personal brand statement is not a lackluster job description lacing together your functional areas of expertise. Instead, it represents your promise of value to your next employer, and it should generate attraction. It needs to integrate your hard skill sets with your softer ones, indicating who you are and how you use those skills to make things happen.

Branding is not a passing fad. In fact, the process of identifying what differentiates you from your competition has been part of job search, career marketing and resume development for decades. What is personal branding, really? Simply put, branding in job search is a way to uncover, define, and communicate your unique ROI (Return on Investment) value to your target employers, based on their needs.

Understand first that we all already have a personal brand or reputation. Everyone is known for their own unique set of strengths, passions and characteristics, those things that drive us at work and in life. Maybe you haven’t thought about the defining attributes that differentiate you from everyone else? Spend some time uncovering your personal brand. Have the courage to embrace the things that make you unique. What distinguishes you from your peers is exactly the message that will hit home with the decision makers you are trying to influence.

If you are not actually an expert in your field, do not mislead people in your brand messaging. When push comes to shove, you will not be able to live up to the expectation and then you will have blemished your reputation by bragging embellished claims. You may call branding “boasting about yourself,” but it is really all about being truthful about the best you have to offer. If you have accomplished great things, you would be prudent to let your target employers know about it, without exaggeration.

To put your brand to work for you in your job search, you will need to pull together all the pieces that make up your value proposition in the marketplace. A vibrant personal brand statement makes it that much easier for those considering you to get an indication of whether you will be a suitable fit for their organization.

Your personal brand statement should become part of your online and offline career marketing communications, at the top of your resume or career bio and in your online profiles. And do not forget to “brand-charge” your email signature by including a condensed version as a tagline.

Take the time to do the authentic branding work and bring out the personal. Don’t be afraid to be you, generate chemistry and differentiate yourself in your resume, LinkedIn profile and all other career marketing communications. Emphasize the things that make you the best hiring choice for your target employers. Distinction captures attention and resonates much better than likeness ever will.

All the best,

Cheryl Hoffman

Career Coach, Accounting