It is more important than ever to reflect, refresh and STAND OUT! I’m going to be covering ‘brand’ in a three-part series from different perspectives: the candidate (personal brand), the client (employer brand) and the recruiter (extension of your brand).
Part 1 - Personal Brand
First impressions really do count. As a candidate, this starts right from the very beginning of your interactions with either an agency or an employer. I’ll cover a few basics first:
Your cover letter cannot be addressed to the wrong recruiter or employer about a completely different role (I could write a whole article on this). It can not be generic and three pages long.
Your CV cannot, under any circumstances, have spelling mistakes, incorrect/misleading dates, inconsistent formatting, or a photo of you drinking a cocktail on holiday (also not acceptable on LinkedIn). Here’s an article on this from Tribe’s Vikki Mogg.
The first interaction could be a call to the recruiter or your interview with a hiring manager. We get a lot of initial calls from people wanting to gain more information on the role prior to applying. There are a couple of things to consider here:
1) For the most part, recruiters (internal and external) aim to put as much as possible on the advert while staying within prescribed templates and keeping to a word count.
2) There is more to a role than a title and company and we would like the opportunity to talk you through it
3) Unfortunately, there are some things we can’t disclose for various reasons, such as the role being confidential or a business working through internal changes
I get a number of calls from people asking what company it is, what the pay is and where the role is based. This gives me some indication of a candidate’s motivations...and I won’t lie, it doesn’t get me excited!
When you do call, make sure you have thoroughly read the advert, then read it again. Think about the role and how your skill set could be relevant and get that across in the call. It’s a two-way street.
There have been many articles written on the interview stage, so I will keep it short. Be prepared, be enthusiastic and be curious. Leave your current baggage at the door, it shows – trust me. Talk about your achievements, not your day-to-day role - why are you better than the five other finance managers who all do month end in record time?
My final thoughts on personal brand might not necessarily be obvious for everyone depending on where you are in your career, but it’s never too late:
USP - your unique selling point. What do you want to be known for? Why should you be the one to get the job? Make yourself seen and heard by contributing to industry articles and blogs, be curious, network and go to events. Be a promoter of your industry, supporter of your peers and stay current!
I will talk more about this in part three, but a recruiter is an extension of your personal brand. How you present to me is how I present you to the client.
I would love to hear your thoughts on personal brand, you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.