Employers don't hire people—they hire solutions.
Achieving the next level in your organization, industry or marketplace can feel like a daunting process. Questions we hear most often are “How do I market myself? How do I position myself for the next level?”
The answer is simple. You need to answer “What do I do to help a company make money, save money, or solve a problem? What is my value proposition, unique selling proposition, or my unique promise of value?”
Answering this question is the single most important statement because it demonstrates alignment with an organization that matches your goals and your values. Unlike Einstein, who said most of his success was due to “groping and coping,” the quickest route to your career destination is knowing the industry landscape and raising your visibility to align with the industry.
This is where personal branding helps. Career marketing and personal branding are not a short-term process that will produce a job or board of director offer fast. Most individuals we work with have the credentials, technical know-how, and the leadership skills to lead. What I find is so frustrating for individuals (and frankly, saddens me) is that competent leaders are being overlooked for important assignments for basically one reason. Lack of visibility.
Lack of visibility is the reason most highly capable executives are overlooked for positions.
“Now I walk to work each day and have lunch with my mother every Thursday. Previously, this was impossible.
With Westgate, I learned to create a brand that supported my goals. Having a well written CV and biography, together with a LinkedIn profile, reinforced themes which were invaluable in the networking process.
The materials they produced established instant credibility with decision-makers and opened many doors.
My networking meetings were more productive, because I didn’t have to establish my credibility during the meeting—that precious time could be spent brainstorming ideas and exploring opportunities in the industry today.
Personal branding is like a roadmap that helps you land safely in your next destination. In fact, personal branding helps to speak for you when you’re not in the room and is the best publicist you will ever work with (see Elon’s story above).
But there is a lot of mystery around personal branding—however, it is very simple. A personal brand is a message that speaks about your reputation—what you’re good at, what you stand for, and your unique promise of value.
Personal branding is not simply a logo or tagline, and it’s not just a series of marketing activities (advertising, resumes, LinkedIn profiles, email campaigns, social media, etc.).
Successful personal branding is authentic to you. That means you use your values, passions, and strengths to distinguish yourself from others.
Effective career marketing is based on an effective brand.
Successful personal brands are not created. They are uncovered, strengthened, and nurtured. Understanding your strengths, passions, goals, and values will help you focus your brand and translate it into success for your career
When a company sells a product, they invest a great deal of resources into the branding. They need to know who it's made for, why it's made for them, what solution it offers, and how it does so.
Why should branding for an executive be any different? You need to know what companies you are targeting (ideal company profile), why they are your ideal company, what you can do for them, and how you can execute those demands.
You need to know your unique promise of value.
The whole idea is to "match your values and competencies with the priorities of audiences that matter to your career".*
"Like the branding of an organization or product, the personal branding process takes into account intended audiences and/or marketplaces. What might appear to be a core competency as perceived by some audiences—such as a willingness to forgo an immediate win in order to build a long-term relationship with a client—might be a downside in the eyes of a sales manager frantic to reach a quota."*
Some of our clients have very little personal branding when they decide to work with us. Some have a little work done in that area and others have a strong head-start in their marketing initiatives. But what most of our clients have in common is their need for clarity on why personal branding is important and how to incorporate, present, and address all of their assets and values.
"Ideally, personal brands evoke favorable emotional responses from coworkers, superiors, professional connections, and, of course, customers."*
Here is a checklist to help guide your thinking.
Perhaps you have checked the "no" box to a lot of these. Or maybe you have a decent number of "yes's", but aren't sure how to present them effectively in order to get yourself in front of the decision-maker of your ideal company.
When you read a job description, that is the literal instruction for what the company is looking for in a human solution. Ideally, your LI, CV, bio, website, values, value proposition, attributes, strengths, and experience are all prepared in an updated, combinational sequence and ready to be presented.
"...LinkedIn profiles may show an individual's job history, a few endorsements, and not much more. Alternatively, a strategically constructed profile may showcase a professional who encapsulates the brand of his employer's logo, following his employer's organization, posting client logos, or posting wide-ranging company- or product-related resources."*
"Of course, one's online presence is not the whole picture; living the characteristics of one's personal brand, not just conveying them online, is a necessity."*
With that said, it is generally unusual for someone that is looking for a position that is in line with their values to lie or embellish to the point of lying, on their social platforms.
Personal branding is a step in landing your dream job. It is important to take it seriously.
We are here to help!
Our done-for-you services include step-by-step play book.
As part of our Career Navigator program and our Professions package, we work with you to extract all necessary information and we take your personal branding to the next level with a done-for-you process.
Most of our clients don’t have a résumé (have never needed one) and have no idea how to research, prepare and write the CV, LinkedIn profile, and bio. We do 100% of the writing in our programs, leaving you to work in your career while we work on your career.
Our programs will benefit executives who:
- Are seeking thought leadership status in their industry.
- Don't have the time needed to research and write career documents.
- Want to showcase their professional expertise and credentials to a targeted audience of organizations in a way that leaves a lasting, positive impression with decision makers.
- Need to refine networking skills and optimize their online presence to become a magnet for bigger opportunities, stand out in the marketplace, and attract the right organizations.
*Strategic personal branding—And how it pays off, Deva Rangarajan, Betsy Gelb, and Amy Vandaveer. Kelley School of Business. Harvard Business Review.