Self Branding or career branding is an often over-looked important party of the job search. The biggest mistake that people make is to assume that their past accomplishments and career experiences will speak for themselves.
Often, job seekers can fail to take a proactive approach to creating and marketing their reputations. Branding is setting yourself apart from other job seekers. If an employer sees "productive," or "self-motivated" basically stamped on your forehead he / she is going to stop and take notice. The blame lies entirely on you if you choose not to be active in asserting your reputation.
It is so important to market and manage your reputation in this manner. Start by determining what your strengths and assets are. What have other employers complemented you on? Are you dependable? Do you show good leadership? Or maybe you have good analytical qualities?
Whatever your best feature is, you need to identify it, and then go about highlighting it to potential employers. There are many different ways to market your brand. Begin including your brand in emails and letters. When you describe to people your job functions, include your brand. This can be done effectively and tastefully in a manner such as, "I work for company X to create new software; my work is completed on time and on budget."
Another example from a manager's standpoint could be, "I lead others to follow my example and work efficiently without sacrificing quality or integrity." The first example provided highlights the candidate's respect for deadlines and good money sense. The second showcases the employee's leadership qualities and values. Once you establish your brand you can use it in many situations to remind your potential employer what it is that you bring to the table.
The bottom line is that if you do not brand yourself, others will. Nobody wants to see bad qualities like these present in a potential employee. You might have accidently given a bad first impression without even knowing it, and words like these might cling to your name.
Much of this could have been avoided had you mentioned in early email correspondence that you have responsibly performed your duties with other employers and that you possess such and such qualities. Obviously if you claim punctuality as a selling point, then are late to an initial interview, your actions discredit your claims. Generally, however, you can shape the opinion that others will take towards you, by effectively marketing your brand.
You can be active and establish and market a reputation which showcases qualities such as:
Dependable, Leadership skills, Motivated, Supportive of co-workers, Hard-working
These are all great characteristics with which you should aim to be associated. An employer will brush aside others in an effort to take a better look at you if you present yourself as possessing any of these qualities. It's critical in the job market to set yourself up above the rest of the crowd. Career branding is a great way to do just that.