Brand "You"

In the fields of marketing and advertising, we think about branding often. In the service industry, we apply certain tools of the trade to client efforts.

It is far more difficult to turn those tools and processes inward, to your own business. How many times have you uttered the phrase, "We're our own worst client"?

This is even more true for your personal brand, and that starts with a resumé and a body of work.

You may think your resumé is about you. It isn't. You are creating your personal brand, and a brand is given meaning by the people observing and using it. Just the same, your personal brand is designed to be persuasive to your target audience, and they will give it meaning as they interact with you.

Your resumé is about the company with whom you are interviewing, and no one else. They need to know three things: (1) What you are capable of, (2) what you can do for them specifically, and (3) if they wouldn't mind seeing you in the office every day.

Here are some tips to inform your resumé and build your personal brand:

  • Be sure everything you include on your resumé has an implication to the company and the people with whom you’re interviewing.
  • A real person is reading your resumé. You want them to feel positive sentiment toward you. Inject some personality through design and content to create interest. Hobbies or passions help round out your image on paper and can lead to more thoughtful, meaningful conversation and connection.
  • Design matters. Your resumé can help you stand out from the masses. Always maintain professionalism, but adding some color and having a clean, unique design may catch an HR director’s eye from the foot-tall stack on his desk. No more than two colors and two typefaces.
  • Keep it to a page. Their time is precious, and you aren't that important. White space, legible type, one page. The general rule is to add a second page only after ten years of experience.
  • Results-driven is in the DNA of every company, and it should be in your DNA, too. Big or small, results are the number one measure of success. Your work may have led to an increase in recruitment for your club; your party had record attendance; you completed a brainstorming session and the ideas became integral to the campaign's success. Include some form of result for each bullet point when possible to show that you have done something valuable.
  • Finally, your resumé serves as an agenda for interviews and conversation. Design it around your most compelling work, and tailor the work to your audience. Highlight the things you are comfortable expanding on in-depth. It will help you control the discussion and lead the conversation, invaluable especially when you encounter a bad interviewer.

Happy brand-building, and happy hunting.

Steve Kesselman