5 Steps to Develop Your Unique Personal Brand for Lasting Career

New to Canada and at your wit’s end trying to land a job? Amazed and dismayed at the difficulty of the entire job search process? Shocked that you are not even receiving email acknowledgments, let alone a call for an interview? Been there, done that.

The many challenges that you face while seeking job openings can be resolved by developing a strong, unique personal brand. A personal brand makes you noticed for all the right reasons, reinforces your strengths and give the employer ample reasons to hire you. It takes understanding and some work to develop your brand, but the payoff is highly rewarding, as has been proven by thousands of successful immigrants in Canada.

I like to say that our lives are the result of what we “absorb,” what we “comprehend” and how we “excel” based on that information. I call it the ACE Principle. Let’s see how it applies to personal branding for career success.

When You Absorb:
Personal branding is the most powerful self-marketing strategy for achieving career auccess. It differentiates you so you can stand out, get noticed and get hired. Branding makes you more memorable. Think about how the Nike Swoosh or the McDonald’s golden arches stand out in memory even in the midst of advertising clutter.

What You Comprehend:
Branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition. It is about getting your prospects to see you as the ‘”only one that provides a solution to their challenge or fills an immediate need.” For instance, instead of posting numerous resumés online, create a compelling online presence and optimize it, so that recruiters will not only find you, but want to interview you. Change the rules of the game, attract your audience, instead of pursuing them.

How You Can Excel:
Here are five proven steps to building your authentic personal brand.

1. Self-Reflection
Before you start, you need to know what you’re beginning with. Take a moment and write down your top three attributes/selling points/unique strengths. If you can get an employer to associate three positive traits with your application, you will easily rise to the top of the applicant pool.

2. Continuous Learning
Always stay on the cutting edge. You can add a degree or a certificate to your existing credentials. Seek out a mentor who can advise you. If you are already employed, check with your employer to see if there is a budget to support your professional development.

 3. Consistent Marketing Strategy
Everything you do, or choose not to do, can communicate the value of your brand. The resumés and cover letters that you format; the emails you send; the words you speak; the clothes you wear, the way you conduct yourself in meetings … everything matters.

4. Build Relationships
Keep in good contact with your network and always make sure your network knows of any recent successes. Search out new professional associations or online communities to add to your network. Find opportunities to weave your personal mission/vision statements into conversation with your network

5. Follow-Up
Good follow-up will create a positive association with your brand. Return employers’ calls immediately (establishes trust). Respond to all requests (shows responsibility). Write a thank-you note after an interview (demonstrates courtesy). Write acceptance/decline letters upon accepting/rejecting a job. And always keep your network updated.

Evolving Brand
Building your personal branding is a constant thing and should continue to evolve  throughout your career. Remember, a successful personal brand is not about pretending to be something you are not. It is about demonstrating your unique value to prospective employers and getting recognized, chosen and rewarded for it. There is only one unique you in the entire world. Now let the world know about that!

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