Table of Contents
- What is a personal brand?
- Why does personal brand matter?
- How to define your personal brand?
- How to Use Your Personal Brand to Stand Out in a Job Interview
The term branding used to be a concept that’s commonly known for businesses. With the rise of social media platforms and the gig economy, branding has come a long way since it was first introduced by Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich. It has become fundamental in enabling individuals like candidates to stand out from the crowd. In this article, we will share some tips on how you can showcase your personal brand to make you more noticeable and leave a long-lasting impression during a job interview.
What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is how you present yourself during the interview. It conveys the distinct combination of your skills, experience, and personality that you want the interviewer to see. Showcasing your personal brand in a job interview gives you the opportunity to ensure that the interviewer sees you in the way you intend them to. Furthermore, it allows you to differentiate yourself from the crowd and establish credibility and trust with your prospective employer.
Personal branding is the conscious effort to influence the interviewer’s perception of you as a potential employee. It involves finding what’s unique about you and allowing yourself to be known for them during the interview. When done right, a strong personal brand can help encourage the interviewer to choose you over other candidates.
Why does personal brand matter?
A personal brand is vital in the job-hunting process. Many employers have adopted the use of social media platforms to screen applicants before interviewing them. In fact, a survey found that 70% of employers check out candidates’ social media profiles as part of their screening process. This means a well-written resume alone may not be enough to secure a job in today’s modern job market. You also need to showcase your personal brand through other means.
Some of the platforms you can use for showcasing your personal brand include LinkedIn, a personal blog, or an online portfolio of industry-related articles. Apart from your resume and professional profiles, your personal brand should also be further replicated in your interview. It’s what will set you apart from the competition, boosting your probability of securing a job offer.
How to define your personal brand?
The process of defining your personal brand involves discovering your individuality. Consider your past experiences, successes, and career goals. What impression do you want to leave the interviewer? What differentiates you from other candidates? Here are some tips that can serve as your guide.
- Reflect on your personal values, mission, and ways of working.
- Review the list of professional experiences and accomplishments on your resume.
- Ask your past and current colleagues to describe your best qualities as a professional.
- Consider your career aspirations.
- Keep your prospective employer’s needs in mind.
Based on the above, identify common elements that apply to you and your career goals. Use these as a starting point for developing your personal brand statement. It should be a concise statement highlighting your expertise and what distinguishes you in your profession. Keep this brand statement in mind during your job interview. Take a look at some of the examples below.
- A results-oriented Data Scientist who empowers consulting companies to make data-driven decisions and uncover new opportunities.
- I innovate operational processes to accelerate the energy transition of fast-growing green startups.
- Expert in developing scalable enterprise architecture strategies to fuel productivity and maximize revenue growth.
- I help multinational organizations make strategic business decisions through insight development and market research.
- Growing brands through persuasive content creation.
How to Use Your Personal Brand to Stand Out in a Job Interview
Your personal brand is one of your most important assets. It will not only allow you to communicate your strengths and expertise, but it will also help persuade the interviewer that you are the best fit among applicants. Hence, showcasing your personal brand in a job interview is imperative. If you’re not sure how follow our tips below.
a) Interject your personal brand into your answers
Your personal brand is an essential asset that the interviewer associates with you. It tells your prospective employer what you can bring to the table and why they should choose you over other candidates. Your responses are the best way to showcase your brand in an interview. Some of the most common interview questions provide you with an excellent opportunity to impart your personal brand. Here are a few examples.
- Tell me something about yourself.
- What are your greatest weaknesses or strengths?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- What is your passion?
- Where do you envision yourself X years from now?
Once you’ve defined your personal brand, answering interview questions will be easier for you. This is because you already know your core values and best skills. You can use this as a foundation for creating and communicating your responses. Here’s how you can apply this when asked one of the most common interview questions, “Tell me something about yourself.”
“I’ve always been passionate about gathering and interpreting data to solve problems. This inspired me to pursue a degree in XYZ. Part of my coursework involved the application of statistics and mathematical reasoning for critical problem-solving. As part of these discussions, I was able to practice basic mathematical and statistical computations while also using the right technologies, such as Python, R, and SQL, in analyzing complex data.
I also worked on several data analytics projects during my time at the university. This experience has familiarized me with analyzing research results and developing findings through data science, which I’m looking forward to bringing to this role. My goal is to help consulting companies like XYZ make data-driven decisions and uncover new opportunities through data analytics and data science.”
b) Put some thought into what you wear
When it comes to a job interview, first impressions are essential and what you wear has a lot to do with that. Your outfit of choice is considered a direct representation of your personality and personal brand. Hence, putting some thought into what you will wear plays a crucial role in the success of your interview. As a rule of thumb, we recommend wearing something that shows your personal brand and helps you feel at ease and confident. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing your outfit.
- Dress in line with the culture and standards of your target employer and industry.
- Find an outfit with the right fit to demonstrate your attention to detail.
- Keep your accessories subtle.
- Avoid wearing anything wrinkled.
c) Engage in a small interview talk
While your experience and skills are important, the communication between you and the interviewer also plays an essential role in making you stand out. Small talk conversations leave lasting impressions not only on what was said but also on the candidate who said it. Additionally, it allows you to establish a connection with the interviewer and showcase your personal brand. In turn, it puts you in a better position to land your dream job. Let’s take a look at some of the tips you can apply to engage in a small interview talk.
Before your interview, take some time to research the interviewer to understand their background and professional profile. Find an opportunity to engage in small talk to build a connection with the interviewer. For instance, you can briefly talk about your common interests before or during the interview if you see that the hiring manager is open to chatting.
As a rule of thumb, maintain focus on topics that showcase your personality and connect you with them to create a sense of belongingness. Some of the topics that can help promote your personal brand include passion, professional interests, and hobbies. When selecting a topic for small talk, avoid anything controversial such as religion and politics.
d) Be mindful of your body language
Your body language reveals a lot about your personal brand. It plays an essential role in demonstrating consistency with the brand you want to promote and be known for. Your body language enhances or changes the message you are trying to convey. For example, an executive who seeks a reputation as an influential and confident leader yet facilitates a meeting with slouched shoulders and downcast eyes convey a different message.
When preparing for an interview, record yourself as you practice your responses to common interview questions. Take the time to evaluate your body language or seek feedback from a friend, family member, mentor, or career coach. Doing so will allow you to determine what message your body language conveys and what you need to work on to create a perception that reflects your brand. Below are some of the ways to improve your body language and establish a strong personal brand during your interview.
- Shake hands firmly while maintaining proper eye contact to showcase confidence.
- Maintain a light smile and friendly tone of voice throughout the interview, making you appear more approachable and likable.
- Nod, lean in, and never look at your devices to demonstrate that you are paying close attention to the conversation.
- Keep a good posture while sitting, ensuring your arms and legs are uncrossed and your feet are on the floor to showcase confidence and credibility.
A strong personal brand can help you outshine the competition, making you more noticeable and memorable to the hiring team. The tips outlined in this article can help you showcase your personal brand during a job interview, maximizing your chances of winning the job. But if you need a career partner that can provide you with objective, relevant, and practical advice, you can reach out to us.