Your job search, branding or selling?

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 25, 2011 - 10:51 AM

You hear a lot of talk these days about personal branding and how you should brand yourself in a job search. If you want to get hired as soon as possible, you should sell yourself as much as possible and let the branding take care of itself.

You hear a lot of talk these days about personal branding and how you should "brand" yourself in a job search.

But you hear very little about how you should sell yourself to employers.

Yet, I submit that, if you want to get hired as soon as possible, you should sell yourself as much as possible … and let the branding take care of itself.

First, let's define branding and sales, as they apply to a job search.

Then decide for yourself which to focus on.

In my view, your "brand" is simply your reputation -- what other people think about you when you're not in the room. The concept of personal branding was first popularized in "The Brand Called You," a 1997 magazine article by Tom Peters.

Now, don't get me wrong. Branding is a fine way to get recruited by employers and headhunters who learn of your excellent reputation.

You can build your brand through public speaking, publishing books and articles, writing a blog, networking with influential people, displaying emotional intelligence at work, etc.

Problem: You can't build a brand called you (or anything else) overnight. So branding is not an effective strategy to find work fast.

Selling, on the other hand, can and does produce rapid results.

And by rapid, I mean much faster than the 33.6 weeks it currently takes to find a job, on average.

Clients of mine have been called for interviews within 24 hours of submitting effective resumes and cover letters to employers -- even employers who have ignored prior applications.

Example: Debi C. from suburban Dallas, Texas and Robert B. from West Chester, Penn., both found jobs in the midst of the current recession -- in 3 weeks and 5 weeks, respectively.

They got hired after they did following:

*  targeted a list of ideal employers;
* submitted resumes that emphasized results and included testimonials,
* sent cover letters that emulated sales letters, and
* followed up with employers by phone and/or mail.

These tactics -- emphasizing results, using testimonials, sending sales letters, and following up -- are Sales 101. Yet, how many of these tactics are you using in your job search?

Let's look at two more ways to sell yourself to employers.

1) Get read to get hired
What's the one letter that always gets opened? A FedEx letter. Smart marketers know this and use express delivery for their most important sales letters.

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