Define Your Personal Brand & Narrative Without The Hand Wringing

personal brand

Articulating, having and cultivating a personal brand are all the rage these days. Workshops and online classes abound and a good and well-articulated one is often seen as the great differentiator for job seekers and career changers.

But many times, people have no clue how to get started. I’ve had clients write on the personal branding exercises I give them, “Please help with this!” Other times, people I talk to totally gloss over it, saying it’s really their ‘last priority.’

Well, it’s actually the opposite- cultivate a solid personal brand and tell it effectively via your personal narrative and you’ve just cut out a substantial amount of the “applying to 500 jobs via web portals with no response” nightmares. I’m not saying you’ll never have to apply for a job again, but if people in your industry or field know you, for example, as “that person who will get the job done effectively” or “that person who will spark the creativity of the group to get out of the box thinking and solutions,” then that speaks louder than a piece of paper submitted through a web portal (ie your resume).

So without further ado, I’m sharing some ‘getting started’ tips in advance of my October 29 Ivy Exec class so you can show up with some ideas already in hand:

  1. Know Your Path: This may go without saying, but if you’re changing careers, it is tough to dive into this whole articulating personal brand thing. You may be easily able to say where you’ve been, but you’re unable to connect it to where you’re headed, which is a crucial component to the whole shebang.
  2. Articulate the Needs of your Field/Industry: This isn’t an exercise in writing about or speaking about how great you are (although it can be a good pickmeup!). Instead, take the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) approach. What are the perennial or new needs of the industry you’re trying to break into or move up in? How do you add value in those areas?
  3. Write or Dictate Your Long Form Personal Narrative: Sometimes (usually!) bringing together everything you’ve done in order to pull out the salient points can be difficult. I highly recommend writing out or telling your story to someone. Telling it to someone, like a coach, partner, colleague or friend and having them capture what you’re saying is a super helpful exercise and one I work on with clients all the time. The end result is that they’re able to pull in elements to their story that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. I did this recently with a client working in wealth management as we transitioned her to auditing, and she came up with really important points that tied her whole story together. The end result is that she was able to clearly ‘sell’ her new employer on why someone with no auditing experience was right for the role, and she got it!

This is just the beginning. Once you have those key starting points down, it’s time to get to work on formulating your story and cultivating your brand. Join us on October 29 for more insights and how-tos in terms of telling a cohesive story when switching careers. Register here.

About the Author

Jill Ozovek is a certified career coach in New York City. Her practice focuses on helping Millennial and mid-career women find and develop careers that align with their passions. For more info on your own career change and Jill’s Career Change Kitchen course, click here.