Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Soaring On Your Strengths Land the BIG Job

Robin Ryan

My career counseling client Cathy was already a Chief Financial Officer, longing to become the company's Chief Executive Officer. When her boss Larry announced his retirement she recognized that this was her big chance. But, there was one major problem: Larry did not support her goal of moving into the CEO position. Only with a carefully developed personal brand could she have even a remote chance to land this job without his support. We needed to define Brand Cathy so her skills, strengths and abilities were more evident, so the Board of Directors would view her as the prime candidate. Larry's lack of endorsement was an intimidating roadblock.

Working together, Cathy and I created a great resume, developed an attention-getting cover letter, and polished her interview skills. I coached her on how to present her personal brand, and to recognize her true value and the talents she had to offer. We also honed her negotiation strategies. Cathy worked hard and did her very best to prepare, but still felt doubtful about landing this job.

Once we had clearly defined who she was professionally and established her unique career identity, AKA her personal brand, the board members did take notice.

And she did, indeed, become the organization's new CEO -- and what a great leader she will be. If she had not invested a great deal of time and energy into developing her personal brand the outcome would surely have been different.

Identifying Your Personal Brand

Can you quickly state what your key strengths are? Do you know what your career identity is? We're not talking about your job title, but your career identity. It's that unique authentic reputation you have among bosses, colleagues, and other employees. This reputation is what I call Brand You.

Personal branding may not be a term you are familiar with, but you need to be. It took me quite a while to consider exactly how I could teach someone else about self-marketing their personal brand in order to advance their career. The heavy 'corporate brand' advertising or marketing approach would lose people quickly. So I spent over two years working on the process, and the end result is in my newest book, "Soaring on Your Strengths."

Your career identity is not some slick piece of advertising. Brand You is based on the authentic, talented, and genuinely unique and special person you are. It is not phony or conceited, or an exaggeration, nor is it a trick or fleeting fad. The components of Brand You are the essence of you as a person, which include: your work strengths, your image, your passion and your personality traits, along with other people's perceptions of you, applied in a work-environment that enhances your productivity.

I recommend you give yourself a gift if you care about career advancement. No matter at what stage you are in your career -- at the beginning, middle, or at a senior level -- or if you are changing careers or reinventing yourself -- you'll have a game plan for your future. You will know how to self-promote and market yourself successfully to become the very best you can be.