2018 Branding Basics
NEVER ever ever lose an opportunity to promote your full name, and contact information. In job search, it’s “mission critical” to brand your name and to list full contact information on all of your business correspondence and all of your personal marketing pieces.
Last week I wrote about gathering all your marketing pieces (or “tools” as I like to call them), lining them up together, and doing a full review of them for content, consistency, digital currency, and formatting/design. Now we’ll take a closer look at the most important ones.
Start with your resume, always. This is “ground zero” for reinvention. Resumes are still necessary, and will remain so for the foreseeable future (3-5 years). Take the content from your previous resume, but start a fresh template/document. Note: don’t use an old template with “legacy formatting” buried in it that will jam up more current applicant tracking systems.
Fill in your contact information. Make sure your name stands out above all. Add a title if you can, to give reader a sense of what skills and knowledge you have. Leave your physical address behind. Add full contact information — don’t just give your mobile number and email address. Skype? Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn profile? If you’ve got them, list them. Please don’t add a landline – unless you are there during business hours to answer it.
Now, write a small profile that tells your story in three short sentences: a) who you are (now); b) what you’ve done (in the past); and c) what you want (in the future). Just write the facts up, then you can pretty it up later with descriptors/qualifiers. Your profile should evolve along with you –just get the first iteration drafted.
Then list your hard skills, and a few soft skills. Add another section list the hardware/software you can use, and then list any tech platforms that you’re able to work on.
After that, it’s a regular resume. Put your professional experience in reverse chronological order. Stick to 3-4 bullet points for each job, and make sure they don’t just reflect your responsibilities, but also any accomplishments within those roles. Add dates, and visuals (read: logos), or hotlinks to companies where possible.
Then the education section. List your education, as well as any professional development courses you’ve taken, no matter how big or small. Employers and recruiters want to know that you’re a life-long learner!
Next, add a public service (aka volunteer work) and/or a professional affiliations (professional memberships) section.
Run spell and grammar checks. I repeat: run spell and grammar checks.
OK, almost done… Last scrub/edit is for visuals, including formatting/layout, icons, logos, graphics, colors, fonts, tag lines, a/o hyperlinks wherever possible – whatever graphic/marketing elements you may have.
Save the file in PDF format “Smith, Jane CV.pdf”, and you’re done. Don’t name the file “resume 2017”. You’ve now got the first iteration of your reinvented “look” or “brand”.
Pro Tip 1: Once you’ve established your new look, it’s easy to migrate it to your other marketing pieces… That same “look” from the top of your resume, can be re-purposed in a template for your cover letters, your references and your bio — using the exact same layout, with your name, title, and all your contact information, and use of visuals. Migrate that same look even further, to your email signature, and your business card, your web page or blog. Let your marketing materials be recognizable and consistent!
Pro Tip 2: ALL of your marketing pieces need to reflect the same (relative) content, and “look” — that’s what establishes your brand. As mentioned last week, old-style “content resumes” have definitely transformed into “graphic resumes” (think info-graphic). Cannot stress this enough…The more “visuals” you have, the better: ie., word clouds, logos, graphics, hotlinks, icons, newsletters, flyers, blogs, videos, memes, podcasts, tag line, photos… All your marketing pieces should all be similar in look, and consistently laid out, with full contact info and web presence(s) front and centre.
Again, your name is your brand. Use your first and last name at every opportunity when answering calls, signing off emails, or introducing yourself verbally or in writing.
Your “signature look” will evolve over time, just as you do. Then it’s a simple case of “scrubbing” your marketing pieces once a year (I reserve my birthday to do this, along with my goals). This will ensure that your brand evolves over time, that it stays current with market best practices year over year, and that it delivers on your objectives.
Next blog: now you’ve got your goals clearly outlined, and your marketing pieces are done, you’re ready to rock job search.
Keep doing your homework! Share on social media using the buttons below, and tag a friend or colleague in need. Everyone needs support in this market.
Do you have any questions about your marketing pieces? Shoot me an email or a call – I’ll be sure to respond!