Establish Your Brand: Your Personal Description

There are so many things you are and aren’t doing that are creating your brand. You’re being defined by people around you based on how you communicate, how you dress, how you carry yourself, and much more. And I hope you’re starting to feel empowered by the opportunity you have to actively define how you’re viewed professionally. 

In my last article, I talked about the basics of marketing yourself, and today I want to take that a step further. Last time, I encouraged you to think about adjectives you want to define yourself such as ‘results-oriented’ or ‘team player’ and challenged you to live by those adjectives. Today, I want to touch on personal descriptions aka personal overviews, personal summaries, or introductory statements. Well-written resumes often have one at the top. 

One of the biggest issues I see with young professionals is they haven’t actually put words to describing themselves. This becomes a problem in many situations – on your resume, in an interview, at a networking event, and the list goes on. You need to make it easy for people to understand you and you should want to make it easy for them to help you. You can do this by packaging yourself with words in a way that makes it easy for people to understand what you’re all about and even better – in a way that makes you relatable and valuable. On a resume, this would be done in your overview or introductory statement. Here are some examples you could find at the top of a resume for people in various phases of life with different types of expertise. You’d find this sort of personal description below the name and contact info on a resume:

For a high school student:

Tech-savvy, engineering-focused, high school senior with a passion for how things work. Experience in computer programming, customer service, and project coordination.

For a college student:

Bilingual, Chinese-American pre-med student. Committed to community impact through volunteerism in developing countries. 

For a 20-something working professional:

Former collegiate athlete with 4 years of experience in sales and marketing. Expertise in project management, marketing planning, and social media buying in the sports and entertainment industries. 

The examples above would be great for the top of a resume to position those people for a recruiter or hiring manager. The statements make the candidates’ value clear. For a networking situation, they’d want to be less formal. For example, in the case of the 20-something working professional, if he was asked, “So tell me about yourself,” he could respond by saying, “I’ve worked for 4 years in project management and marketing between the Blazers and a local event company. Before that, I played division 1 soccer at the U of O while studying business.”

It’s easy to add one line to a statement like the ones above to describe what it is you’re looking for. One of the keys to that is to know your audience, which I’ll talk more about next time. For now, use the examples above to think about how you could concisely describe yourself to best showcase your most marketable experience. Leverage anything impactful such as of years of experience, areas in which you have expertise (i.e. office management, customer service, etc.), any impressive personal skills or accomplishments (i.e. language skills, athletic or artistic accomplishments), education or special training, etc. 

Next time I’ll go into tips on describing what you’re looking for. Until then…follow me on twitter at @MadeToHire. And stay tuned for big news from me next week as we enter 2018!