The need to effectively market yourself to an intensely competitive job market where many qualified candidates want to join the best companies and get hired for great jobs should be no news to any executive-level candidate. A company known as a great place to work or a compelling top job that is open to outside candidates is going to attract successful, highly competitive executives wanting to maximize their career growth and compensation.
So just as in the products and services any company offers to their customers, candidates need to differentiate themselves from a crowded candidate market for the best jobs and companies. Differentiation is the key principle for any experienced executive wanting to change jobs and is the foundation for creating your personal brand.
I’ve had the privilege of coaching, as well as working with and for executives and leaders, with great marketing backgrounds and know-how. A great lesson taught again and again across multiple industries and businesses of all sizes is that you can have all the slick and wonderful marketing and brand strategies, digital as well as traditional, but without a compelling product or service that really delivers on the brand promises and creates real value for the customers, the quality and effectiveness of the marketing strategy and execution is minimally and usually only briefly helpful. I wish I had a nickel for every wonderful brand and marketing strategy presentation I’ve witnessed over the years that ultimately underperformed or failed because the products and services just didn’t deliver on the brand promises made by the company. The lack of delivery on the brand promises prevented clear differentiation from competitors. Competition then became based upon price and price alone. I would have made a lot of money if I just collected that nickel for every slick marketing presentation that I saw through that ultimately didn’t work!
The relevance for a transitioning executive to high value product/service differentiation is simply to have a personal brand that sets you apart and differentiates the value that you can bring to a potential employer. Your personal brand creates a promise to an employer that you can deliver exceptional levels of performance and results with unique skills against the challenges and problems that an employer wants solved with a new hire. Executive positions that go to the job market for candidates are open for a reason. If it’s an existing job, the incumbent may have resigned, retired, been promoted or fired; regardless of the reason, there is a void that can only be filled with an outside hire. If it’s a newly created job, the new position is also there for a reason. It could be business revenue and profit growth, geographic expansion, new products, services or technology, M&A activity, expanded management span of control or executive level changes are common examples among the many possible reasons for newly created executive roles.
Regardless of the specific reason for a job opening, the company has a specific set of problems to be solved and challenges to be overcome; and you have a compelling uniqueness of skills, strengths, talents and a track record of results that sets you apart from the competition. The development of your unique and one-of-a-kind personal brand is the foundation for what you are going to communicate and market to potential employers. And personal brand, well communicated, truly accentuates why you need to be a top candidate to an employer for their open job.