Why do you buy what you buy? Why do you wear those shoes or that jersey? Why do you go see that movie? What beverage calls your name when you are thirsty, tired, hot, cold or sad?  Do you Google or Bing?

The decisions you make are heavily tied to the brand image the company has developed and nurtured for their product or service. In a nut shell, you probably feel the way you do about certain products because the company wants you to feel that way and carefully crafted a message and strategy to be sure you do. That’s not to say that unexpected events can’t derail a good brand, consider what happened to Starbuck’s carefully crafted brand message when competitors entered the market and the economy turned in late 2008. They went from being the chic coffee experience to patrons asking is this $4.00 cup of coffee really worth it. As a result of the changing environment Starbuck’s quickly started making adjustments. So, you might be asking – what has this got to do with me? Well, if you’re looking for a job, it has everything to do with you.

It is likely that you already have a “brand” and may not even realize it. For example, have you surfed the web and commented on Blogs? Have you bought property, had a judgment against you, written an article, joined an internet group? Do you have a presence on Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn? If you answered YES to any of these, you have the beginnings of a brand. If you don’t believe me – Google yourself.

If you’re job hunting, its imperative in today’s environment that you distinguish yourself from the pack. If you don’t then how do you expect a recruiter or hiring manager to find you in the avalanche of applications and resumes they receive?

There are 10 basic steps to building a message and strategy for the brand called YOU.

  1. Identify what your product or service is that makes you different from the competition.
  2. Conduct a feature-benefit analysis – look at each feature you have to offer and then determine the value that feature brings to a potential employer.
  3. Identify your core values. Those things that truly matter to you most.
  4. Identify your passion! What do you love and do best?
  5. Identify your talents. Make a whole list of your talents, what you’ve been recognized for, what you’re known for and do better than others, what others come to you for.
  6. Narrow your list of talents to your critical few – say your the top 5.
  7. Develop steps 1-6 into a summary statement of your niche or specialty.
  8. In 15 words or less, write a short paragraph describing your niche or specialty.
  9. Add a tag line that’s memorable and leaves others with one key impression of YOU.

10.  Get the brand called YOU out there and VISIBLE!

Creating your brand is an ongoing process; it matures and changes throughout your career and life as you do. One thing is sure, you can either brand yourself or others will do it for you.

Want more on building your brand, check out the following post on the Personal Branding Blog.