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How Candidates Can Brand Themselves
By Rich DeMatteo, Corn on the Job


While selling a product or a service for a business may seem incredibly straightforward, selling ourselves is an entirely different matter. As this is naturally much more personal, we can find it difficult to present our character, our goals and our skills in the best light-without appearing arrogant or conceited.

So, it should come as no great surprise that one of the biggest difficulties job candidates face during applications and interviews is self-branding and self-promotional. Thankfully, there are a number of powerful ways to dispel the myth of the "nervous applicant" and create a powerful "brand" which will leave a lasting impression.

The CV and the Cover Letter

Before you even get to that looming interview chair in the boardroom, you'll have to craft the perfect cover letter and CV first. This can be thought of very much like a personal "billboard" that will display all of the relevant information and skills for the intended job in question. Still, there are a few mistakes that should be avoided.

An overabundance of detail can be unnecessary; longer descriptions may actually detract from the skills that are presented. Additionally, words such as "motivated", "driven" and "diligent" are some of the most overused in the industry. These again should be used sparingly (if at all). A CV should be kept short, relevant and to the point - do not go over two pages where possible. The reader will appreciate the alacrity and the chances of landing a subsequent interview will dramatically increase.

First and Lasting Impressions

An interview is perhaps the most stressful time during the entire hiring process - this one meeting and presentation of yourself is the barrier between getting the job you want and walking out of the boardroom disheartened and rejected. There are two main categories to address that will help to land a sought-after role.

Physical appearance is critical. However, it can be a mistake to assume that a suit and a tie are always necessary. Instead, the wardrobe should revolve around the type of position. While a suit is likely to be ideal for a role in banking, applying for an entry-level position in telesales can often equate to a comfortable sweater or polo shirt. Always aim for the most appropriate wear where you’re aware of the dress code - when in doubt, go smart.

Secondly, nervous applicants can make the mistake of talking too much. While some think that this portrays confidence, the truth of the matter is that the interviewer can quickly become bored. So, silence is indeed golden when appropriate. This will naturally not apply when the applicant is asked any pertinent questions.

Small Tools to Make a Big Impact

You should always look at the way you present yourself and your work as a form of personal sales. In other words, a handful of important questions need to be asked such as:


  • What image needs to be portrayed?
  • How realistic is the role in question?
  • What skills are the most relevant?

  • In this case, knowledge will very much equate to power. Still, leaving a lasting impression is one of the most potent ways to secure a further interview or the role itself. Novel ideas such as leaving a bespoke business card or even handing out personalised pens are excellent tools to employ. While these ideas may seem a bit commonplace, the truth of the matter is that such novelties may very well provide the "spark" necessary to rise above the other applicants.

    Personal branding is an important tactic that some of the most successful businessmen and women have used for decades. Creating a strong persona, adapting to the interview at hand and finding a novel idea to create a lasting impression are all ways to secure what may very well be the job of your dreams.