You have a clearly defined career brand, right? And you’re ready to start marketing yourself into a new job. But have you taken the time yet to consider how your brand is perceived by your target market?
Think about it: It’s one thing to clarify your brand and align your career communications tools with it, but it’s another thing altogether to assess how the people you’re trying to market to think about you. Do they see you in the same light you see yourself? Do you they perceive your brand the way that you want them to perceive it?
You cannot assume that the answers to these questions are automatically “yes.” Which means that you need to conduct a brand audit or analysis on your candidacy.
Allow me to define brand analysis from the job seeker’s perspective. Your job search brand analysis clarifies:
- Your “Offerings”: Your capabilities, strengths, and history of career impacts.
- Your Competitive Positioning: How your brand compares to that of others seeking the same kinds of roles as you.
- Your Target Audience(s): Your target employers and industries, of course, but also the likely titles of the people you will aim to connect with, along with a quick profile of their demographics.
- Your Market Positioning: What do you bring to the table that other candidates cannot? What do they bring to the table that you cannot, and how can you defend against or mitigate that advantage?
Brand analysis helps you to build your job search campaign on facts rather than dreams. It enables you to pinpoint the advantages your candidacy offers and capitalize on those advantages in the labor market. Brand analysis improves the quality, aim, and likely results of your job search in four distinct ways:
- Brand analysis challenges you to get specific about your strengths and achievements. It’s not enough to say that you increase revenue or optimize productivity – you must provide specific examples with specific measurable results. It is specifics that help you to distinguish your brand and stand apart from the crowd. Without a well-defined brand, you are invisible in the market place.
- Brand analysis challenges you to look beyond your own candidacy. It’s natural to assume that you are the best applicant for every role you pursue, but the reality is that this simply isn’t always true. Inevitably you will face off against other candidates with more experience, more credentials, more results. More. You need to identify that “more” and be prepared to defend against it – because “more” is not always better.
- Brand analysis challenges you to think about and prepare to communicate with the employees in your target companies who will evaluate your candidacy. How old are these folks likely to be? What assumptions are they likely to make about your experience? What skills and capabilities are they likely to value? Job search communications don’t occur in a vacuum; they must relate to specific people with specific preferences. By thinking about this ahead of time, you can be better prepared.
- Brand analysis challenges you to consider how you are different, and presumably better, than other candidates. You need to know what advantages their candidacy has so you can place the advantages your candidacy has in context. You also need to be able to pinpoint what disadvantages their candidacy has so you can assess the disadvantages your candidacy has fully.
While all of this may sound complex or even daunting, it need not be. Brand analysis for job seekers is nowhere near as complex for job hunters as it is for companies, of course. Once the process is defined and broken into a step-by-step process, it becomes much easier – and faster – than you might imagine. After all, brand analysis is meant to streamline your job search, not make it harder.
I’ve done this for you in my Hire Calling online coaching group for executives in active or passive job searches. Leveraging Hire Calling’s systematic approach, you can complete your brand analysis in a few hours, thus ensuring that your job search is accurately targeting the right people and companies with the right messages and tools.