It’s Not Bragging, It’s Branding

As the saying goes, “If you don’t toot your own horn, then no one else will.” Yet that’s exactly what veterans must do in their civilian career search, even though it means placing themselves ahead of the mission or team.

The veteran skill set is in high demand, with April 2019 hitting a record low for veteran unemployment. Yes, our economy is in a growth mode, but that’s not the only reason veterans are getting jobs. Compared to their civilian counterparts, veterans simply bring more to the table. However, you won’t be able to claim a seat at that table without giving some thought to your personal brand and practicing how to implement it across every aspect of your career search.

###Why Do I Need to Brand Myself?###

Your brand communicates what you bring to the table, your level of confidence, credibility and commitment. Determining and honing your brand requires some self-examination and introspection. What do you do better than anyone else? Bingo - that’s your brand. It should be authentic to you, so talking about it should come naturally. Nervousness is one thing, but it’s a recruiter’s job to size people up, and they can spot inauthenticity a mile away. It’s ok to be yourself and still be professional.

###Your Elevator Pitch Haiku###

An elevator pitch presents the ideal opportunity to brand yourself and paint a picture of your value to a potential employer. Even the basics are part of your brand: a firm handshake (but not a vice grip); eye contact; and a smile.

Imagine you’re crafting a haiku: you have limited time and words, so use them judiciously. Think of an achievement or accomplishment from the last 6-12 months. Weave it into your elevator pitch to help a recruiter visualize what you’d contribute to the team.

###Consider Your Online Footprint###

Your brand extends to your online presence. According to Forbes, [93% of employers]( will search for your social media profiles during the interview process. So, ask yourself:

• Does your LinkedIn profile paint an accurate picture of who you are by touting your most important accomplishments?

• Does your email address sound professional?

• Do your social media posts match up with your brand?

Touting your accomplishments may not come naturally to the veteran population, but it’s a must in today’s marketplace. Developing a narrative about who you are and what you stand for is a value proposition that will serve you well in your job search and throughout your career.