by Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR an accredited public relations and strategic marketing leader who helps businesses solve their communications challenges and achieve measurable results within changing, complex environments. Anne is a Past President of WCA and is currently serving as WCA’s Co-VP of Programs.
Your Job Search Brand Campaign
According to Glassdoor, 86 percent of HR professionals surveyed about the current job market indicate that recruitment is becoming more like marketing. Our July 2021 WCA@Lunch program with Tonja Eaton helped attendees answer the question: Is your job search brand campaign helping you cut through the hundreds of applications submitted for a singular job, or is your brand falling flat?
Tonja guides her clients to find a position that aligns with their purpose, values, and expertise. She shared that the first step in your job search is getting clear on who you are, what you do, how you do it, and your impact.
This level of clarity will help you articulate your value proposition and position you for the right role as you are talking with recruiters, hiring managers, and your network about potential opportunities.
Even if you’re not currently in a job search, the clarity around your personal brand, expertise and value proposition will also serve you well in your relationships with teams, bosses, peers and clients.
So where do you start? “Think about your brand promise, what people think of you when they meet with you or work with you,” shared Tonja. “When you think about your work and your background and your unique blend of experiences and skills and places that you’ve worked and results that you gained, what is that story that makes you so unique and different from the next person?”
Strong personal brands are:
- Clear and compelling;
- Consistent; and,
- Draw on an emotional connection.
“Everyone’s got a story to tell. So what makes yours interesting and relevant? As I’m talking to a potential employer, I’m not just talking about skills and experiences and results, but I’m also tying the conversation back to business and how I might be able to add value to the company. I’m also looking for that emotional connection because that is what really motivates people to get involved in the conversation and want to look a little bit deeper,” Tonja counseled.
Five Step Brand Campaign Framework
Your first step is to get clear on who you are, what you do and how you do it — and the impact you have. She shared a compelling example with us. “I could share that I do leadership development, instructional design, facilitation coaching. But when I say I help lead teams; I help managers become brand leaders; I help organizations up level and upskill their talent; and I help my clients get clear on their goals and pathways to success — and I do that through coaching, facilitation, and leadership development — then it’s a different story. The more powerful story, right?” Getting really clear on this first step is very important.
Now it is time to test your message by gathering input, sharing your current messages, and gaining feedback. Who is on your personal board of directors and in your network who has worked with you in different ways throughout the years who could give you clear, honest input? You can also ask these trusted colleagues to tell you what they think you’re great at. All of this will help you update and iterate your messages.
“You might see some trends coming back to you, which will validate what you already drafted or may surprise you. For example, you may be surprised to know that people see you as a critical thinker or a strategic thinker or someone who can always get it done and deliver results,” says Tonja. Take the information and use it to further understand your brand and how you can blend these new pieces of information together in compelling, authentic and interesting ways.
Once you’re clear on what your brand is, and you’ve been able to pull that together into an impactful, compelling story, then you’ll look to consistently integrate your brand across all of your communications, including your
- LinkedIn Profile;
- Skills shared in conversation and online;
- Job highlights shared in conversation and online; and,
You’ll also want to evolve your story and refine it, as needed. “I’ve asked for feedback directly from the recruiters when I’ve gone through my career history,” Tonja shared. “I’ve said, ‘Can you give me some feedback? Was that the right level of detail you were looking for?’ Which helped me with the next conversation. So don’t be afraid to open up and ask for that feedback.”
Equip Your Network
Help your network position you for introductions and referrals, including when asking for LinkedIn recommendations. One of the attendees shared this as her key takeaway from the program:
“Help your network help you in meaningful ways when you are job hunting. Give them the key points that make it easy to share your qualifications.”
You can approach this in one of two ways. You can be very specific about the industry, company, title or type of position you are seeking. Or you can share a broader answer with your network that leaves them with the opportunity to brainstorm on your behalf and come up with a few possibilities. It could look like this:
- “I work really well in organizations that want to….. (what goal are you best at helping teams reach?)”
- “Most of my expertise is in __________, so I would love to help an organization get to the next level there.”
These statements help you guide people and make it easy for them to help you. You can ask your contacts to connect you with someone for an informational interview, write a recommendation on LinkedIn or make an introduction to a hiring manager currently seeking talent.
Deliver Your Brand
Now for the practice! Practice until your delivery feels comfortable. This is an iterative process for everyone, especially when you are job seeking and each interviewer is seeking slightly different information from you.
Practice delivering your story and get feedback from your network, recruiters, hiring managers and the interviewing team. Share what is most compelling and interesting, while also celebrating your authentic self.
About Tonja Eaton:
As a professional leadership coach and facilitator, Tonja Eaton thrives in her work helping individuals, teams and organizations grow self-awareness, develop purpose, build a growth mindset, cultivate talent, and reach BIG goals.
Tonja owns LevelUp Leaders and Full Circle Coaching & Consulting where she works with coaching clients to level up their careers and helps companies build leadership capability. With more than 20 years of experience in people development and human resources in mid and large size companies, she has helped countless leaders develop and implement personal, professional, and organizational strategies to address business challenges and opportunities.
She holds a BS from Texas State University and received coaching training from CoachU. She is certified in multiple personality assessments, 360 instruments, and leadership learning content.