While there are tons of things job seekers can do to brand themselves online using LinkedIn, blogs and other social media, in the end, some of the most powerful and impactful personal branding takes place in your in-person interactions with others.
I reached out to fellow job seekers and career experts for effective offline and in-person personal branding tips that could help you distinguish yourself to your chosen and targeted audience of employers and network contacts, and here are five top tips that I have compiled to share with you today:
It's true. How you look and present yourself is the first thing people notice. Things to consider: Are your clothes stained? Ironed? Too big, too small? Do your teeth need whitening? Are your nails kept and clean? Has your make-up been updated recently? Is your personal hygiene in order? Do your shoes need a polish? Are your eyebrows plucked/managed (often men have unruly nose and eyebrow hair and don't realize it)? All of these personal grooming tips are not designed to make you "perfect" but merely to make you the best you can be. It only takes once to make a bad impression so make it good! - Amy Swift,SmartyPeople.com
Take into careful consideration what others see. Listen to descriptive comment. Recall the lifetime of reactions verbalized by friends, family, mentors and co-workers. Release the feeling of praise or criticism that may be attached to these descriptions. These are the 'public' responses to your exterior identity. They are working for you when you walk in the door - acknowledge these perceptions, first to yourself and then to those you are meeting. Those habits create a sense of self-awareness, self-acceptance and ease. Naming the perceptions others have of you also has another almost magical effect: others will feel agreed with, creating the sense of YES in the room that any experienced business-person will tell you is the key to successful interaction and desired outcome. - Sam Christensen, SamChristensen.com
I recommend that that my clients recognize something about their voice or body language that is special and positive and make sure they use it in their interview. For one client it was her warm voice, for another it was his laugh, another his warm and strong handshake, one clients voice sounded so authentically enthusiastic, another came into the room with an energetic bounce, ... the list goes on. This helps the job interviewee feel special and it creates a nonverbal memory of interviewee in the interviewers brain. It seems small, but my client’s says it helps them feel more confident. Everyone is special. I also recommend they put some great professionally done photos on a website, face book etc as whatever old photos may indirectly brand them negatively and they need to try to get great professional photos at the top of the search engines, under their name. Even someone that has their same name, say john blue but is not them and has a bad photo can affect their branding when they are looking for a job. - Patti Wood, PattiWood.net
From your resume through to your interview outfit, pick a color and/symbol that defines you and use it as part of your brand. The idea is to use a power color, for example red, and apply it to all your dealings with a prospective employer. Pick a symbol in your color that you can use on your correspondence. A red dot, a red square, etc next to your contact details is sufficient. You don't need to hire a branding firm, any geometric recognizable symbol will do. The simpler, the better. All follow up or confirming e-mails prior to your actual interview, as well as your business cards, should carry through with this color and symbol or brand. Use it as part of your signature. When you arrive at the interview, make this color part of your interview outfit. It can be a red tie, red career bag, red glasses, red scarf, red shoes, etc. A personal color will help you brand yourself if you use the color consistently. - Marsha Hallet, SweaterArt.com
A great pitch: Ask most people who they are and what they do and you get familiar junk or babble. You need a strong, declarative statement that's memorable and lets people know exactly how you are unique and can solve someone else's problems. Example of a bad pitch: I'm a career coach. Example of a great pitch: I help job seekers get the right job faster, and for more money, by teaching them proprietary techniques they won't learn anywhere else. - Mitchell York, FiveoClockClub.com