When we talk about our personal brand it can sometimes sound very ostentatious or cheesy. But it is so important if you’re going to interview for a job, to know:
- What you’re good at
- What you have to offer
- What makes you different from others who might be going for the same job
- What your preferences are in terms of work.
When put like that - hopefully it sounds a little less pretentious!
The fact is, only when you’ve done this thinking, and really know yourself well, will you be able to speak in a ‘matter of fact’ way about your skills and talents - and be able to do yourself justice at a job interview.
In Module 3 (Succeeding at Interviews) we ask participants to recount 5 stories relating to something they are really proud of. With input from a partner, this simple exercise helps to identify some of the stand out areas, skills, talents, traits, behaviours and values that are particular to each individual.
One of the reasons we do this exercise is that we often tend to take our skills and abilities for granted and think because we are good at something, everyone must be good at it. Consequently, we can then fail to mention this as a strength. In reality, we are all good at some things and less good at others. We all have our own preferences and often enjoy the things we excel at. In short, we are all unique and therefore bring something unique to the party. If you think about friends, family and colleagues I bet you could pick out some real strengths in each and every one of them. The sad truth is we don’t routinely acknowledge the same for ourselves!
At various times throughout the Crossing Thresholds programme, we ask participants to check in with what they know about themselves. We do this right at the start in module 1 when participants reflect on their values sharing their Personal Narratives, in Module 2 with the Wheel of Life, in module 3 with the 5 achievements, again in Module 5 and it is a theme that runs throughout the year. Taking the time and space for this self-reflection helps participants understand and then refine what their Personal Brand is. By listening to others in the cohort participants often find that their preferences are likely to be quite different from others. Where some prefer working alone, there will be as many who recognise that they do their best work when working with others. This collection of skills, talents and preferences makes us who we are and makes us unique.
It is important for us all to be fluent about our brand and to own it.
The magic happens when you know yourself so well that you start to look at potential jobs and decide that in fact you are NOT a good match (exercising your Want Muscle can apply to what you don’t want as well as what you do want) This is potentially contradictory to what we say in module 1 tips about 'not trying to solve a problem'. Just think of all the angst you could avoid if you only applied for jobs where there was a good match to your style, talents, skills and preferences. Chances are you would do much better at an interview where there is a good match as you will be able to naturally answer questions with honesty and passion – with authenticity.
Familiarity and fluency around your brand will also help you write Personal Statements, LinkedIn profiles, and talk with confidence at networking events when someone says ‘tell me about you’. You can also use it to promote yourself to those who need to know what skills and talents you have, like your boss or potential employers in day-to-day conversations.
So, I get it!
At first, it can sound a bit cheesy. But thinking about, developing and understanding your Personal Brand is a necessity if you want to drive your career choices and find a job that you will love. It will be the icing on the cake to ensure you succeed at interviews.