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Your Personal Brand and Potential Employers

If you have a clear idea about what you want in an employer, you are much more likely to get it. Use your personal brand to help you focus on potential employers.

Identifying potential employers is a key step in the process of a job search. What would be your ideal place to work? If you’re unemployed, it’s easy to get caught in the desperation of “I just need a job!” But a job that’s the wrong fit for you likely won’t last long.

The best-case scenario in finding your next employer is that on the first day of a new job, you walk in feeling happy to be there, and they are happy to have hired you. You have the skills and personality that they are looking for, and this new employer welcomes you with open arms.

Geography

The first filter you apply is an obvious one: geography. Unless you’re willing to move, you may need to focus solely on the employers in your area.

Geography is becoming less of an issue for some people and some industries. If you do a type of work that could allow you to telecommute from your current home, the geography filter simply may not apply; your potential employer could be located a thousand miles away.

Your product

What you have to offer the potential employer is crucial. Obviously, what you are selling needs to be something that a company wants to buy, so you must identify employers that need the work you can do.

If you have a skill like accounting, which most employers need, this filter may not weed out too many potential targets. But if your skill is quite specific — say, for example, that you design amusement park rides — you’ll have much fewer employment options. (However, your skill may be so highly valued that you’ll be sought after by those few targets.)

When you begin to develop a network of people who work at companies of interest to you, ask them not only about those companies but about competing companies as well.

Personality and values

The next potential employer filters are personality and values: Both of them must be a good fit. You are looking for an employer whose environment matches your personality and values. This filter may be a bit tough to apply because you don’t always know what goes on within an organization until you’re there.

However, reading as much as you can about the potential employer and (if possible) talking to people who already work there can teach you a great deal about whether it’s a good fit for you.

Corporate culture is the atmosphere created through the shared values, traditions, customers, philosophy, and policies of an organization. Corporate culture is the personality of an organization and impacts the way a company does business and how it conducts itself.

If corporate culture is the personality of the organization, you need to make certain that your personal brand fits in. Do the two personalities blend well, or are they like oil and water? If you are a free spirit, for example, working in a financial audit firm may not serve you (or the company) well.

Finding a match with the corporate culture begins with looking at the top values that you identify for yourself. Do they match the values of the company? Line them up side by side and see how the two sets of values compare.

For example, if you had a strong value for environmental issues but applied for a job at a company that had pollution violations, it would be a bad cultural fit. Think about your own values and look for the alignment with a potential employer.

Listed in the table are some companies and what they stand for to the public. If you worked for one of these companies, would you agree with what they stand for?

Companies That Stand for Something
Brand Name What the Company Stands For
BMW The ultimate driving machine
Apple Innovation, cool
Facebook Social, connected
Disney Happiest place on earth, family fun
Maytag Dependable, never needs repairs
Polo Class and sophistication
Volkswagen Fun, trendy, nostalgia
Starbucks High-quality, individualized coffee drinks, with locations consistently everywhere

After you’re employed by a company, you can only be as individual in your personal brand as the company culture allows you to be. During your job search is the best time to consider personality and values — both your own and the company’s.

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