Saturday, December 26, 2009

Job Seekers Advice: Learn From Small Business Brand Building Tactics by Patty DeDominic

Job Seekers
Learn From  Business
Brand Building  Tactics

Patty DeDominic
Coach to High Achieving Professionals
Santa Barbara, California

Go WITH the flow and let things work for and with your job hunting efforts!

Eager to market your professional skills and stand out from the rest?

By now, you probably have a professionally written resume and you made sure you have included plenty of key words so the search engines and night crawling robots can easily find you.    Still want to set yourself apart from the newly six million unemployed in the USA?     Try taking a page from the Small Business Bible, specifically  Branding Secrets for small business.     These are tailor made for you too, the extraordinary job seeker.

USAToday Small Business Columnist, Steven D. Strauss wrote the  Small Business Bible a few years ago and he's devoted quite a few pages to Branding 101.  There are 3 Key Tips he gives small business owners which I feel will take you a long way to standing out in the crowd.   They are common sense, but believe me, they are NOT common practice!

1. Do What You Do Best Again and Again
2. Offer Superior Customer Service
3.  Be a Mench

Since our goal here is to help you market  "You, Inc"  it is  helpful to apply successful small business branding techniques and tactics to your job search.

 Let me elaborate on each point as Steven D. Strauss laid it out. My comments for job seekers in red.

1.  Do What You Do Best Again and Again
A brand is a promise that essentially boils down to:  "If you buy this products, you know what you will be getting because our copany stands for  X, Y or Z" that is, Volvos are safe.  Nordstrom's offers great customer service, that sort of thing.    This kid of branding takes time and derives fro a company doing what it does best and then making sure that everything else they do supports that value proposition.    Consistency is key.  On Your resume or portfolio, be sure to  include samples and specific examples of work you love to do and that YOU are good at.    Go back to past employers and colleagues at those work places or educational institutions and renew your network.  It could help you a lot to do a little fond recollection with former class or work mates.   Yes, you will want to appear flexible and eager to learn and do new activities in your profession, but you also want to leverage your finest achievements and your best skills.    You only need ONE great referral or job offer to really make your day!

2.  Offer Superior Customer Service
This is a theme that is duscussed in detail in his book... but suffice it to say that all your hard work creating that cool brand will be a waste of time and money if it isn't reinforced by happy customers.   Customers should find it easy to work with you or buy from you.     Happy customers refer business to you too.  How does this translate to job hunters?   Thank your references, your referral sources and anyone who took the time to give you some advice or a leg up along the way.     Be sincere, yet generous in your gratitude.    Take time to plan your calls and meetings.   Don't just ask for referrals, informational interviews or meetings.... ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM?   Executive recruiters remember people who send thanks and gave feedback after the interviews and they LOVE former candidates who refer business or even just leads to them too.    Ask for feedback and give it too.    When you do go for that interview or  for meetings be sure to dress for the part.  A good rule of thumb on your attire is to dress like the person who might be doing the hiring or supervision for your position.   

3. Be a Mench
Mench is a Yiddish word that basically means " a good person."  If your business practices mench ethicds, your brand grows.   While good looks may get you a date, being a mench witll get you a mate.   So too, your business.   Flash may bring people in the door once, but caring for them, and your employees, and your vendors, gets more people to stick with you for the long haul.   Do more than asked of you.  Do things when not asked.  help out in the community.   That really builds your brand.

The bottom line is that you want to constantly reinforce the image you are creating with actions.  Remember, the two keys to establishing a strong brand are developing a specific identity, and then communicating that identity consistently.   Do that and your brand has begun.

Mr. Strauss wrote these tips for small business owners but I know the time has come for all "intrapreneurs" and future high performers need to think of their income generation potential just like a small business.  Building your brand is a good habit to get into and could pay big dividends to those who have set their sights high for 2010.    Patty De

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