Strong personal brand helps to launch career

People starting out in the job market and career –minded individuals who want to move up the

Corporate ladder need to “package” and promote themselves so that employers will quickly recognize that they can add value to an organization, says personal branding and marketing specialist Jenny Handley.

Handley believes that just as strong branding can help to sell a product, so developing a strong personal brand can help to move you ahead in business.

“Consider yourself as a commercial product – one of good value -and set about marketing yourself in a similar way,” she advises.

To launch a product, a marketing company would request a comprehensive brief that includes tangible deliverables and a budget within which to work, she says. In exactly the same way, an individual should outline a game plan in terms of short, medium and long term goals. Your “budget”, in personal marketing terms, would be personal strengths and challenges, she explains.

“You need to be able to clarify your USP (unique selling proposition) in a well-written, attention grabbing introduction document or CV”

To identify your USP, Handley suggests that you list your strengths and challenges and also ask somebody that knows you in a professional and personal capacity to write down 10 points on how they perceive you.

“In comparing your self-perception with how someone else perceives you, you may find that you are selling yourself a little short” she says.

You also need to identify the marketing tools that will assist you. These should include a personal website, electronic signature, business cards and a well-presented up to date CV.

Determine what references, contacts and people of significance in your industry can assist you” she says.

“The expression, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’ has often been proven. Spend time with people who will mentor and guide you, and learn to network.”

You also need to define your target market and whether you want to work in a creative industry such as advertising, or a more corporate environment, such as financial asset management.

“Decide who you need to speak to, and where you want to promote yourself” she advises.

Good communication before, during and after an interview is a vital part of personal marketing.

“Think of it as pre- and post- publicity for a launch of a product. It’s how you make that call, at what time, and to whom. Consider the needs of the person you are calling: do you need to be short and punchy in your introduction, or will they allow you enough time to give a broader overview of your value-added package? Research the company and person to whom you are promoting your package.

Image and dress are also vital. “Ensure that you dress for the job you aspire to getting in, not the one you are in,” says corporate image consultant Jane Shonfeld, who will present a half-day workshop, called Make Me Marketable, with Handley on Saturday in Rondebosch.

“Communicate your professionalism visually,” advises Shonfeld.

“Create the right perceptions, if you look smart and successful, you will be considered to be just that”.

Handley, co author of a self-development book called “Raise your Game, and Shonfeld, author of Make the Most of Yourself, have combined their expertise to present the half -day workshop.

The fee, R495, includes a copy of each of their books and refreshments. For bookings and inquiries, contact Lara Johnson on 021 686 0287 or