By Alex Zaprudsky, Education Director
I don’t disagree with the person who coined the saying, “it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s on the inside.” Believe me, I’m not condoning that being superficial is a good thing, but in the case of branding, looks play an essential role of packaging yourself. From your résumé to business card, to the cover photo on your Facebook, you are promoting yourself. Make sure you would be impressed with what you are promoting yourself with.
Here are my tips on how to build your own personal brand.
Consistency is key!
When you send out your employment promotional package (i.e., cover letter, résumé, writing samples and reference sheet), make sure they all share the same header and font families. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make this work, but make sure that they all are consistent. I get mixed reviews about how I package my résumé. I have a very graphic header with fancy fonts and it is left aligned. Some folks love it, but my friends at the career center think I should be more traditional. I think it’s up to you. I have landed my dream internships at The American Youth Circus Organization and Circus Smirkus with my current package… Looks are not everything…but they certainly helped me to stand out in the crowd.
Show your wild side!
According to Under 30 CEO, creativity is one of the top-ten most important traits an employer wants to see in a future employee. STAND OUT when you first meet someone through your creativity. I have round business cards, and I am pictured as a clown on them. That’s unique. If you have some basic design skills in InDesign or Photoshop, you can create striking business cards for about 25 bucks. STAND OUT. Use a fancy shape (the company I use has circles, squares, ovals, leaf shapes, and traditional 3.5 x 2 cards). If you don’t want to have a circular card, design your business card so it is vertical. Do something to make your card stand out when it is in a pile of 20 or 30 other cards. If you want to be more conservative, make your business card a different color like red or blue, so it will contrast from the pile of stark white cards.
Be true to yourself
The most important thing to remember when branding something — yourself, a company, or a product — is that you must stay true to the brand’s core values. In this case, we’re branding ourselves. You need to be genuine and true to yourself. So when you are writing your résumé or creating your business card, remember the 8.5 x 11 sheet or 3-inch circle is a billboard promoting YOU. Make sure they express who you are and what you stand for.
Follow Alex Zaprudsky on Twitter @AlexZaprudsky