Developing Your Own Brand

Marketing yourself successfully in a competitive job market

Sarah Schwering and Sara Desautel April 3, 2008 WSU Symposium

What is a brand? Why do companies brand? Elements of successful branding You as a brand Exercise Employment tips

What is a Brand?
- A brand is an image your audiences hold of what you are and why they should be associated with you
- A promise of value you make to your audiences that differentiates you from your competitors. - Brands communicate values, ideas and images that go beyond the specific product.

- Good brand management can insulate you from factors such as price, availability and competitive pressure - The image you craft in the minds of your audiences may be the reason they choose you —or stay with you—when there exists lots of choice

What is a brand?

What is a brand?

What is a brand?

Why Do Companies Brand?
- To cultivate:
- Authenticity, differentiation, consistency

- To elevate their meaning/relevance with customers - In order to command a premium price/insulate from competition - Customers base decisions on brands

Elements of Successful Branding
- Brand platform:
Theme Attributes Key messages (“proof”) Foundation for all communication

- Visuals:
- Logo, Identity package, materials, environment


Employees as brand ambassadors Consistency, focus, authenticity Clear focus Truthfulness Show value for customer

You as a brand
- Branding is a powerful concept that can be applied to individual people as well - During a job search, you want to:
- Elevate yourself; stand out from the crowd - Build a relationship; a connection - Communicate your value proposition

The elements of your brand
• Your values • Your strengths • Your elevator pitch
– Who are you, how are you different?

• Tailoring for the audience
– Why should they care?

• Visibility and marketing materials
– – – – – – Create impressions! It’s a numbers game Business card Resume Cover letter(s) Portfolio Following up

The elevator pitch
• Example:
– My passion is journalism. With my degree in communications and through the dozens of articles I’ve written, I’m really able to tell stories. I’m someone who hits the ground running and knows how to manage deadlines, without cutting corners. Ethics and integrity are a very important part of how I operate.


Create your own elevator pitch

What Employers Really Look For
• • • • • • • Work ethic – Time/money management Physical skills – Healthy, capable, presentable • Verbal communication – One-on-one and to groups Written communication – Writing, editing, proofing • People skills – Building relationships, teaching Influencing people – Managing, leading, pitching ideas • Information gathering – Research skills, knowing where to go Using quantitative tools – Familiar with spreadsheet programs, charts, graphs, numbers Asking/answering the right questions – Evaluate actions and policies, “think on feet” Solving problems – Identify problems, develop solution, execute solution

10 Things Employers Want you to Learn in College, Coplin, 2003

Other Skills Employers Look For
• Critical thinking – Seeing the big picture, being analytical Communication – Getting your point across when writing and speaking Visionary Qualities – Brainstorming, looking to the future, setting goals Self-motivation – Taking initiative • Proficiency with information – Being inquisitive, resourceful, knowing how to conduct research Globally-minded – Understanding and showing and interest in other cultures; getting along with diverse groups Teamwork – Working well with others to achieve common goals

• •

Monster, 2007

Tips From an Employer
• Portfolio—helpful in almost all fields • We look for:
– – – – – – – – – Cover letter and resume Related experience Any specialized skills (language, technology, etc.) Writing ability Attitude Know the company and industry! Tell your story; use specific examples Highlight how your skills help us Ask intelligent questions

• During the interview

The Case for Internships
• Internship and volunteerism show commitment, drive and track record • Try to complete at least one internship during college. Use resources such as:
– Career Centers – Networking – Job search websites ( – Professors

Recent Research
Careerbuilder “College Hiring 2007” – Most important to hiring managers: • 25%: Fitting in with company culture – Be familiar with not only the nuts and bolts of the company, but also the culture. • 21%: Relevant experience – Student government, volunteer work, and team sports count! Hiring managers regard these highly. – 21% of hiring managers say that asking good questions and showing enthusiasm during an interview weighs heavily on their hiring decision. – 33% of hiring managers say they require a 3.0 GPA and above. • 10% require 3.5 GPA and above

Recent Research
MonsterTRAK 2007 Entry-Level Job Survey – 76% of employers will hire new grads during the spring or summer • 38% will hire more new grads than last year – Experience is essential: 30% of employers said experience is the number-one factor they consider when hiring – Most common mistake grads make during the first interview: “Unprofessional behavior” (30%) • 2nd most common mistake: Not doing enough research on industry/company (27%)

Resume Don’ts
• Make sure your materials are perfect! (e.g. Johnson vs. Johnston, Stephanie vs. Stefanie) • Don’t send plain paper, photocopies or a low quality package • Don’t give too much personal information. • Focus on track record, experience and achievements • Don’t send a generic resume or cover letter

Resume Do’s
• Provide a detailed, personalized cover letter • Show knowledge of the company to which you’re applying • Keep it clean and simple. Be specific and give detail on tasks performed. Avoid graphics and unreadable fonts • Follow instructions. Attach samples if asked • If submitting portfolio, enclose in manila folder or 3ring binder. Packaging matters! • Follow up

• Following the principles of branding will differentiate you • Always connect your value proposition to the company. It’s your job to paint the picture, not their’s • Be professional • Be yourself • Use questions to leave them with the answer to “why should I hire you?”


Thank You!
Sarah Schwering (509) 444-2350 Sara Desautel (509) 444-2350