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Recession Protection: Learn To Brand Yourself For Better
by Carole Nicolaides 2001 All Rights Reserved

After the feverish storm of abundant jobs and wealth, corporate America has started seeing and feeling the negative sense of what almost always follows "boom times" - a recession. Companies of all sizes are laying people off. So how do you make yourself more appealing to recruiters when everyone is clamoring for a job?

The same way corporations make themselves appealing to customers.

They basically controlled the way their products and services were perceived. Once the perception was set, customers would align themselves with the product they thought would meet their needs or fulfill their wants. Does it work for individuals? Powerfully so!

Right now, how would your future employer perceive you? Ask a few good friends or former coworkers - friends you can trust to tell you the truth - how you are perceived in a working environment. Find out what they feel are your strengths, unique qualities and weaknesses. Then ask yourself this question, " Is this the type of person I want to be perceived as?" From here, you can create a brand that will better your chances at successfully landing a new job.

So what exactly is a brand? In basic terms, your personal brand tells potential employers who you are, what you stand for and why they need you. The beauty of the branding process is that once you are clear about YOU and what YOU really want- then you will innately know the jobs and companies that you will be an excellent match with.

The following questions will help you through the process of creating your own personal brand:

1. What are your natural gifts? What do people praise you for? Is it your ability to fix things or organize events? What comes completely naturally to you? How do you use this gift with your present (or last) job? How can you show a potential employer that this natural talent is to their benefit?

2. What is your current knowledge? List all the material that you've learned since college. Do you hold a specialized degree? What associations or boards have you chaired? What training courses (such as Dale Carnegie) have you successfully completed?

3. What are your personal values? What values are important to you? Which values do you live by? One of my values is freedom. Try to lock me in a cubicle and you see what happens! Without freedom, I lose my motivation, and therefore am unable to motivate my team. If you identify your own values you will target only companies that share and honor your values, thus creating a better combination of employer/employee. Do you value money, creativity, teamwork, freedom, kindness? Bring those things out so that the people who need you see those special qualities.

4. What are your attributes? Attributes in the professional world are the things that characterize you in your working environment. These can include being dependable, organized, a team player, a people person, etc. Attributes are very important and employers often look for these things before they review your experience. Why? Because your attributes give them clues as to who you really are and what you can do for them.

5. What are your passions? What do you love to do? As you do this exercise, it is possible that your values may overlap with your passions. This is a strong indication that you need to fulfill this type of activity in your job. Things that come naturally to us normally need to be pursued in order to prevent burnout. Smart employers understand that finding a person that is passionate about their work is rare. You will be valued for your natural abilities.

6. Are you a specialist? If you are not then aspire to become a specialist in what you do. Why? Your "worth" increases. A specialist can - if need be - perform routine duties. However, a routine employee cannot function as a specialist without extensive training.

7. Draft a compelling brand description. Create a paragraph or two that highlights your core values, passions, natural talents, attributes and knowledge; and that emphasizes your specialty.

8. Create a tagline. This could be called your "objective". Using the paragraphs above, write, in one or two sentences, what you want to project to future employers. Perhaps it could be something like this:

"Energetic, freedom-loving executive coach who specializes in transitional coaching and offers a passion for bringing out the best in others. Results-oriented attitude that persists until the goals are met."

It will most likely take several revisions before the "perfect" branding message comes across. Once you get the essence of you down to a few sentences, carry that message throughout the rest of your resume. Reinforce your experiences, education and other sections with the message that your branding tagline first mentioned.

By discovering who you truly are, and how you want to be perceived, you will be well on your way to creating an image on paper that will make you recession proof - and will result in a more effective job search.

Carole is President of Intentional Success Coaching offering Personal Success Coaching, Marketing, Business Planning & Internet Success Consulting. For information about her free newsletter and coaching session, visit her web site at

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