Recently, I’ve received a few emails and LinkedIn messages from recent graduates and soon-to-be graduates asking me about how to package themselves for the job market. This challenge is really personal branding in disguise, which is a topic familiar to successful entrepreneurs, authors, and celebrities, making it just as relevant to recent graduates as it is to professionals looking to attract more attention within their industries.
To start, a definition of personal branding from Wikipedia:
“Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.”
In short, marketers and business owners have come to accept that the value of a brand is held mostly in intangible assets, with some sources estimating that physical assets now account for only 40% of a brand’s worth. The other 60% is composed of brand perception, brand personality, and brand loyalty. This is why people pay more for Apple products or why people say “hand me a Kleenex” as often as they say “hand me a tissue.” The brands that connect with consumers in meaningful ways have a huge advantage over brands that compete on a product level alone, and the profits of major brands speak to that in very clear terms.
Much of these concepts translate to personal branding. If you are trying to attract the attention of a recruiter for example, how you present yourself is just as important as what you present about yourself because the static in the job market is enormous. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that the average number of job applications hovered around 118. Anecdotally, that seems low, but that is still a large volume of candidates to compete against. Everyone is submitting a resume and a cover letter (a product). If you want to get hired, you need to stand out (with branding).
To get you started, here are 7 steps to launching your personal brand.