First Impressions Matter: Personal branding tips for momsNov 14, 2023
Stepping back into the workforce after a career break is like gearing up for a whole new adventure. And let’s be honest – figuring out how to stand out while job searching is a constant puzzle. Landing a great job requires catching a recruiter’s eye and if you’ve been away for a bit, you might be wondering how to make that happen. One big piece of this puzzle is developing a unique, professional, and authentic personal brand. Jeff Bezos said, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” and it’s absolutely true. Your brand determines how memorable you are AND what people remember about you.
In this blog, we are diving into the details of creating a personal brand that says, “hire me” specifically for moms. From highlighting transferable skills gained through parenting to crafting a unique professional look to your application materials and everything in between, we'll navigate the path to landing a job through the process of rediscovering and embracing the professional identity that makes you uniquely valuable in the workforce.
Identify your ideal role and craft a compelling narrative
The first step in developing your unique brand is to identify the types of jobs that you’re targeting to understand the skills an employer is looking for as they are recruiting for this type of position. From there, craft a compelling narrative that paints a picture of the value that you bring to the role by highlighting your transferable skills (both hard and soft skills), personality, passions, interests, and background. Once you’ve created this narrative, include it in your summary at the top of your resume, throughout your cover letter, and in your LinkedIn profile. If you aren’t quite sure how to identify your ideal job, here are a few places to start:
- Check out our previous blog post, Navigating your Career Comeback: Harnessing the Power of Assessments for a Successful Career Pivot to tap into some career assessments that can help you figure out what you’d like to do next.
- Reach out to your network and schedule informational interviews with people who are working in jobs that you’re interested in. Talking with people about their experience can help you explore whether a job is the right fit for you and can help you understand what types of trainings you may need to complete to build new skills.
- Identify what family-friendly benefits and work arrangements are most important for your family and research companies who offer those benefits. Then check out the companies’ career pages to see what types of jobs they offer and explore which ones may be a fit for your skills.
Consider how you portray your brand while in person
For employers, a big part of the hiring process is not only determining whether you have the skills to do the job but also, determining whether you will work well with the team inside their current company culture. To help people better understand the type of team member you are, you’ll want to consider how you’re presenting yourself during networking opportunities, at job fairs, and during interviews. Think about how you’d like to be remembered when you leave the room and incorporate that into the way that you engage and the information that you share about yourself. Here are a few suggestions to tap into your genuine personality characteristics if you aren’t sure what sets you apart in this area:
- Ask your family, friends, or past coworkers what 5 words they would use to describe you. Often asking this simple question will lead to more than just 5 words (and can be a nice confidence boost!) Asking the people who know us best what they see in us can uncover our strengths and help us to view ourselves in a different way.
- Look into the CliftonStrengths Assessment to further identify your strengths and learn how they play out in the workplace. In this assessment, you’ll answer a series of questions that will provide a comprehensive report with an in-depth look at your strengths.
Create visual elements of your brand
Leveraging a consistent look and feel throughout your application materials can make a big difference in creating a memorable impression. Think about using certain fonts, colors, and accents throughout your resume and cover letter header, LinkedIn profile, and business cards to help set you apart. Here are a few tips to creating this consistent visual brand:
- Be aware of the industry to which you’re applying. Creative industries like marketing or design often offer more flexibility when it comes to visual elements, whereas industries like engineering or technology may offer less flexibility. In any case, incorporating a basic color or font to your application materials can help you stand out and create consistency among your application materials.
- Do not include your picture on your resume or cover letter – you don’t want to create bias in the application process - however, adding a photo to your LinkedIn profile and business card is a nice way for people to remember you. The picture doesn’t need to be professionally taken but it should look professional with a neutral background.
We know that time is limited and often we are excited to jump right into job searching but spending some dedicated time developing these aspects of your brand can make all the difference and set you apart from your competition. Remember, you have valuable skills to offer an employer and your confidence will shine through and make a lasting impression!
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