Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stand Out Above The Crowd: A Guide to Job Hunting in a Brutal Economy

No one has to tell you it’s an atrocious market out there…. Banks having to merge, mortgage companies folding, casino profits down and the government bailing out Wall Street. But at the center of it all are people; People with families, mortgages, car payments, credit card debt living week-to-week trying to live the American Dream.

These people are our neighbors. Everything is normal until one day “Mom” or “Dad” loses his/her job. That scenario is becoming more common with hundreds of businesses closing. The unemployment rate is over 7%. Countless people are pounding the pavement looking for work in our city. If the rumors are true, more casino employees’ jobs are about to be cut.

That’s the bad news. But I am going to share some ways to WIN even in a poor economy in your job search I’m going to show you how to separate you and your resume from the thousands of other resumes floating around town for the hundreds of jobs that are open. Just like companies brand products (i.e., Pepsico branded Mountain Dew and Adrenaline Rush or Procter & Gamble have products like Noxzema, Cover Girl, Bounty and Braun), you too must BRAND YOURSELF!

It’s a dog eat dog world out there, folks. You have to make sure your resume gets to the top of the heap and your potential employer knows who you are before the interview. One of the best ways to get yourself out there is branding yourself. 

Personal branding is nothing more than understanding what makes you interesting, compelling and differentiated and using that to stand out from your peers. It’s about building a solid professional reputation around your unique promise of value. It’s important because there are numerous others with your job title, many people who share your goals. The only way to succeed is to stand out from them and create demand for your services. If you want to get the compensation you deserve, you need to offer something that is only available from you! You MUST try to create a niche for yourself. What makes you different? What skills, traits or training do you have that most others do not. What awards or honors do you have?

Keep in mind; branding isn’t just about promoting yourself. It’s about creating a trusting relationship. It’s like buying a certain brand of jeans because you like the way they make your butt look. You go with that brand because you know what they’re all about. You want potential employers to feel the same way about you. 

So, how do you develop your brand? First, you have to determine what you love, what you hate, what you’re good at. And then you have to make it look good.

As a marketer, I can tell you one of the keys is creating a unique look. Whether it is your resume or your letterhead, or whatever you send, when someone opens it they need to know whom it’s coming from. Be sure your strengths and skills are clearly displayed along with your contact information. That includes: Home phone number, cell phone number, Email address and even IM screen names and the programs with which they are associated.

Other than your resume and cover letter, another great tool for branding yourself is having a Web site. Think of all the cool things you can do: videos, pictures, blogs, and links to projects you have contributed to, even a full bio. Try making a short video explaining yourself, your strengths, the jobs you have had, what you would like to do and why. It would be like a video resume. Keep up with the trends in your industry and blog about them.

You might also want to consider a MySpace, Face Book, LinkedIn or website of your own that features more about you and your work. This only works for some professions, but it’s another feature that can make you stand out from the crowd.

Be sure to include networking in your personal marketing mix. The old saying is true: “it’s not just what you know; it’s WHO you know.”

Branding is about advertising yourself. By creating an organized, professional image, you can have potential employers lining up to offer you jobs! 

Need some help branding yourself? Call Mary Ann McQueen Butcher, Goddess of Marketing. 702 994-7282 or go to

Don’t Be the Best Kept Secret!
Mary Ann McQueen Butcher

Red Carpet Marketing, LLC
702 994-7282

Red Carpet Marketing, LLC is a full service media, marketing, advertising, public relations and promotional services company. It targets small to medium sized companies in need of marketing expertise; specifically the companies that cannot afford a marketing department, a publicist or an agency.

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