We all know that the world of recruitment, talent acquisition and job search is changing around us at an alarming rate.
In recognition of that you’ve realised that to achieve your next career objective, build your business or achieve industry recognition you need a brand – a personal brand – that is highly effective, up-to-date, online and truly mobile.
On that note, we’d like to thank you for choosing Arielle and welcome you to the first stages of building your personal brand.
Our mission to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
It starts with guiding you to do the right preparation.
You’ve Come To Us To Build You A Brand.
(Not just write a resume for you).
For exactly this reason we need to get to know you quite thoroughly.
That’s why we will soon have a 90-minute Brand Discovery Session, in which we will not only cover the essentials of your career, but really dig deep down into what’s important, what’s of value and what will help you achieve your next objective.
Some clients say to us that the insights they get about themselves from the Brand Discovery Session itself is worth the investment – but of course our aim is to achieve much more than that.
The more you prepare for the Brand Discovery Session, the more you’ll find that things will “click” for you as we talk. You’ll begin to see yourself in a new light and will become more aware of value you produce. What’s more important, you’ll become better at communicating that value.
Critically, your preparation gives us raw data to work with; the more data we have, the more effective we can be in building a brand that is authentic and encapsulates your professional presence.
To make sure that you get the most out of your Brand Discovery Session, please allocate 2 hours prior to reflect on your career.
How You Do It Is Important.
Find a spot where you know you won’t be disturbed for the entire 2 hours.
Put your phone on silent. Disable email notifications. Ignore the temptation to check the latest on social media. Pour yourself a cup of tea. Don’t view this task as something you must “get out of the way”. Don’t try to get it done last minute.
Take a deep breath in.
This is your time.
When you’re ready, move down this page, absorbing the questions and using them to guide your reflections. Get present to what you’ve done during your career and your reasons for doing it.
Don’t skip over things.
If you’re the kind of person who benefits from taking notes, excellent – have a notepad and a pen ready to organise your thoughts. Have those notes handy during the Brand Discovery Session.
Let’s Get Started.
During your Brand Discovery session, your Arielle Consultant will only focus in on the last 10-15 years, or 3-4 job roles.
This is because potential employers will be mainly interested in who you are now and what you have to offer; it is unlikely any experience prior to that will carry much weight.
This should make your preparation easier – no need to remember what that part-time University job was all about!
Question 1: What Mandate Were You Tasked With?
(Time Required: 25 Minutes).
Reflect on what each of your jobs, in a nutshell, were all about. From a bird’s eye view, think about the main purpose of your roles – one by one.
Now, we understand it can be difficult to do this, so let us suggest two approaches to working out your mandate for each role.
1. Think back to when you were hired.
What was the overarching objective you were recruited to execute? Were you hired to deliver solve a business problem or establish a new team?
Maybe your role was newly created to facilitate business expansion into a new market, or provide better commercial insight to the executive team? If this was a significant part of your role, then this is your mandate.
2. What are, or were, you measured on?
Think about your KPIs, or how you are, or were, assessed at quarterly or annual performance reviews. In most cases, your most critical KPIs – be it revenue growth, or hitting client projects on budget – will reflect the core purpose of your role.
Question 2: What Were The Top 5 Strategic Priorities Of Each Role?
(Time Required: 15 Minutes).
Once you’ve worked out your mandate, this should flow naturally.
Think about what fulfilling your mandate meant in terms of key focuses, or things you had to do. Think about problems you had to solve in the role, or challenges you faced that might be unique to that company, market or position.
For instance, if you were a General Manager of Sales and you led an expansion into APAC, your priorities might have looked like this:
- Developing and leading the execution of annual business plans
- Recruiting and facilitating training for an overseas team
- Designing and putting a new sales incentive structure in place
- Performance management – raising expectations
- Client management and looking at opportunities to improve product portfolio for new markets
Try not to refer back to your position description or your existing resume. What we’re asking you to do here is to consider the top 5, high-level focuses of your role, not your day-to-day duties.
Think of this like a prioritisation matrix. For example, although signing off employment contracts might have been one of your tasks, was it a top 5 contributor to helping you achieving your mandate?
Question 3: Which Quantifiable/Benefit-Driven Achievements Can You Mention For Each Role?
(Time Required: 30 Minutes).
Don’t panic when you see this one. One thing that should be made clear is that achievements don’t have to be million dollar deals. (Although, if you do have some of those, great!)
Ideally, think of 3-4 achievements from each role which will provide evidence of what you’ve done – with tangible or quantifiable results or benefits.
If you’re struggling to remember enough achievements, go back through your roles and think of the following:
- What were your targets/KPIs and did you meet, or better still, exceed them?
- What ratings, or positive comments, did you receive in appraisals?
- Did you contribute to anything that could be seen as an achievement for your team/the company? What was your role in it?
- Were you given extra tasks outside of your remit in recognition of high performance?
- Did you improve any internal processes, working practices or business culture? What benefit did that deliver to the company?
- Did you win any awards, or receive any exceptional feedback from clients, peers or superiors?
- Did you lead, or help to secure, any major client wins?
- Did you manage to reduce spend or ongoing costs, improve productivity or realise efficiencies at all in your role?
Once you’ve got a few ideas, think about how you can quantify the result, or describe the benefit for the company.
If you reduced costs as a result of leading a project, can you pinpoint the figure? Even if you don’t have access to the exact numeric figure (or are prohibited from sharing it due to a contractual clause), can you estimate a percentage figure increase or decrease?
Being able to back up what you say you have done is vital to creating a good first impression with your resume and to standing out from the crowd.
We don’t want your resume to look like a job advertisement or position description – we want it to be achievement focused and centred on showcasing your business acumen.
Question 4: Which Projects Have You Led?
(Time Required: 20 Minutes).
If you’re role is project based, you’ll find your achievements will flow naturally from your projects.
If you’re role isn’t project based, but you have led a number of strategic initiatives, improvement groups or even small internal projects, we want to discuss them.
Projects inside or outside of your remit will help us to showcase your abilities to organise, problem-solve, lead teams and deliver to time/quality/budget goals.
When preparing a project to talk about, think about it using the STAR format:
- S: Situation (What was the context of the project? Was there a business problem, challenge or issue that needed solving?).
- T: Task (What was your role in the project? What was the project’s objective?).
- A: Action (What did you do? Think about it step by step, and try to break it down into stages. Why did you do this, what was the business thinking behind it?).2
- R: Result (Was it delivered on time, to budget, and did it meet the objective? Can you quantify the result, or talk about the benefit you delivered? What changed, how was this better than at the beginning of the project?).
Question 5: Which Of Your Strengths And Elements Of Personality Would You Like To Highlight?
(Time Required: 10 Minutes).
Here, we want to know about YOU.
During your consultation your Arielle Consultant will ask you a number of questions to get to know your personality, both from a professional and social perspective.
For us, the more information you can provide the better, please don’t worry about it being too much. Saying you’re hard working and dedicated is valuable, but what we’re really looking for is the WHY.
Why do you work hard, why are you dedicated to what you do, and why do others think this about you too?
Have a think about what skills are important for your profession, and why they are. For example for most sales jobs, the ability to build rapport quickly with customers is essential, as is a strong motivation to achieve goals and KPIs.
If you’re a sales person, how do you fit into this model, and what insight can you bring that backs up your claims to being a great sales person.
Question 6: What Value Do You Bring To An Organisation?
(Time Required: 10 Minutes).
We want a hiring manager or recruiter to look at your resume, or your LinkedIn profile, and to immediately see you as valuable to their client’s organisation.
Your value centres on two things: having the right experience for the role, and having the right personality.
However, to make an impact we need to take it to another level by demonstrating why you, over others at the same level as you, should be the successful applicant. What is it that you can bring to the table that others can’t?
Think about your peers in your current and previous roles. Can you pinpoint why you have been promoted / regarded as more successful over them? What is it you do differently that makes you more successful?
Perhaps you’re the person everyone goes to when there’s a troubled project or a distressed client account? Why is that, why can you turn it around when others can’t?
Question 7: What’s Your Business Philosophy/Mantra And/Or Approach To Work?
Some people live by mantras, and some people don’t.
If there are particular phrases, or famous quotes that resonate with you, we’d like to know about them, as it gives us an insight into what you believe and practice in your profession.
However, if you’re not a mantra person, we’d like to understand your approach to work, or any philosophy you have on how to be successful in your profession. What guides your overall approach to work, strategy, leadership or making things happen?
What have you learnt over the course of your career that guides your philosophy now?
Thank you for taking the first step in building your personal brand – we’ll take care of the rest. Sit back, relax and finish your beverage. You’ve earned it.
We look forward to partnering with you on your professional branding journey.