Personal branding in a tough job market

January 13, 2009 6:52:22 AM PST
With the unemployment rate on the rise - more and more job seekers are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. A new technique called personal branding is helping people find a job and find out more about themselves at the same time.Matthew Rice is a soon to be out of work software marketing executive who has decided to market himself using a personal brand.

"A brand is all about your unique value to somebody; it's a value proposition for somebody. This will be durable for the life of your career," said Rice.

Branding is something companies have always done. Take Volvo for example, its brand is all about providing a cocoon of safety for you and your family. In the corporate world, branding is left to marketers and ad agencies. In today's job market, it's left to people like Susan Chritton, who operates Pathways Career and Life Strategies in Walnut Creek.

"In this market you can't just be vanilla, you can't be average, you have to start to look at how to differentiate yourself. How are you different? How are you unique as you get out in the market? Because no one wants to hire vanilla, especially in a tight market," said Susan Chritton, branding strategist.

Chritton has clients look inside themselves - not to remember what they've done, but to identify who they are as an individual - Rice did it.

"How do I lead people - warm, fun and build an atmosphere of trust and respect - these are things that embody who I am," said Rice.

"In my case creative and enthusiastic. How do you sell that? How do you make it part of what people remember about you?" said Chritton.

Personal branding extends to all aspects of a client's life - even to the clothes they wear.

"Not something like a white shirt, not a muted tie. Do I even wear a jacket? All of these things are part of your personal brand," said Rice.

Chritton has this advice for finding a personal brander - do your homework, visit their website, ask questions, see if you feel comfortable with the person. Chritton charges $1,300 for eight sessions, but warns if someone asks for big money up front, or guarantees they'll find you a job - buyer beware of that brand.

To find out more about Pathways Career and Life Strategies: