Branding in job search

Note: This section is intended to be read after the previous piece, Marketing For Job Hunters. Because marketing is a complex process, we've separated the two pieces, with the first as the introduction to marketing concepts.

Another form of marketing for your job interview is called Branding. In both advertising and marketing, this is the process of creating a distinct identity.

The brand identity is used to separate your product from the competition.

Everybody knows Calvin Klein, Gucci, etc, and they're good examples of top level branding, and good marketing imagery.

This may sound a bit obscure in terms of job hunting, particularly for entry level people, but really, it's a basic part of getting a job.

The way people encounter a person or a product is much the same, in terms of their response to either.

  • Which person do you remember?
  • Which person stands out?
  • Why do you notice one person, and not another?
  • Why do you think of one product in preference to another?

It's because that person or product had some much stronger identifying characteristic, which registered with you far more clearly than the others.

That's branding, and that's very much a part of job interview success.

This process is much stronger when dealing with people. The way people interact is based on very strong social instincts. Things like facial recognition are major factors, for example.

When meeting people, unlike products, these instincts are automatically fully functional, actively looking for identifying characteristics.

Job interviews are a classic meeting scenario. Your instincts go looking for clues to the people and the new situation.

To some extent, this is the basic knowledge base, but remember you're not anonymous to these people. They do know who you are, and what you're doing there, so the instincts have a bit of help in recognition.

That matters, because throughout the application and interview stages you're providing them with their perception of your identity. The better the information, the better they understand you.

This is primary level branding.

It's what got you the interview.

You stood out enough from all the other applicants to be picked for an interview, and you were identified as being worth interviewing.

Wondering what that means?

Your application contained specific information. Consciously or subconsciously, you gave the employer what you thought were good facts, descriptions, and other information.

You were right.

Those bits of information were what got you the interview.

You created an identity for yourself. A brand.

Secondary level branding is more complex. You're now at the development phase of your branding, and you need to expand and amplify your brand image. To some extent you're confirming the image at the interview.

You need to recognize what created your brand image, and how it works.

Branding is about attention getting, to some degree. In job applications, anything of particular relevance will always get attention.

If you've been lucky enough to get someone checking your application who is a professional in your field, your chances of getting selected zoom way up.

They know what they're looking at, and they speak the language.

Even in a relatively brief cover letter and CV are contained some extremely useful pieces of information.

These are quality controls, for the employer. It's the employer's form of branding strategy.

Your application contained information about your qualifications, experience, and who you've worked for, the basics. You identified your skill sets, and maybe some others which could be important to the new employer.

Let's break this down a bit into components: