Branding Plain & Simple


Conducting an effective job search is hard work. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t have a job and need one; you have a job, but you want a different one; you haven’t looked for a job in five (or twenty-five) years; or life threw you a curve ball, which threw you into an unplanned search.

We’ve worked with clients in all of the above situations, and one thing we know is true across the board: job seekers need to sell themselves, and everyone needs help doing it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a recent grad or a seasoned executive that’s made millions. It’s just hard to write and talk about yourself in a way that lets decision-makers know how you add value, what sets you apart, and do it in a way that’s true to who you are.

Even though we know this, and even though we’ve seen and heard it hundreds of times, I’m always touched by it. I see such gold in the clients who come to us! They are smart, talented, capable, ready to become accomplished, already accomplished, and still… when we ask, “Why should we hire you?” they freeze and stumble. This makes me want to hug them. Then we dive in to help them.


That’s the question lurking in the mind of the Hiring Manager. Sounds mean and calloused, doesn’t it? Yet this is the very question that must be contemplated and answered by every job seeker.

The world of work is a marketplace with needs and problems to be solved, roles to be filled, and teams to be built in order to keep companies and organizations humming. This means if you’re looking for a job, you’ll need to communicate to someone (probably several someones) what you can offer a particular employer, and how it will help solve their problem. It’s not about you, it’s about them. The first rule of branding: know your audience, and how you can help them.

Is it your natural talent to generate idea after idea? Your creativity? Your tireless commitment to tackling the toughest problems in search of real solutions? Your ability to dive deep into data to discover patterns and possibilities that others might miss? What is it about you that I need?

This is branding, plain and simple. What sets you apart and makes you valuable to an employer? Branding merely identifies this and expresses this in a way that’s powerful, concise, and memorable.  In advertising, it’s called the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), that thing that makes you buy one product when you can choose among many. It's your mojo.

Ask yourself what you’re offering, and how you can add value.

Exploring the answer to this question and expressing it succinctly can help you rise to the top of the employer’s callback list. It’s strategic. It will give you more confidence. And…it will help you get an interview to land that job.