Shedding the Military Tag
Tips to Building Your Personal Brand
For many individuals transitioning out of Defence into the world of work, one of their biggest concerns is shaking the ‘military’ tag so they can be competitive in the civilian jobs market.
Without a doubt any career practitioner today will tell you that your personal brand is important. In simple terms it’s your ‘unique value proposition’ and conveys to an employer the potential benefits you bring. Those with an effective personal brand will have more credibility, visibility and opportunities as employers will seek them out. This is clearly much better than being one of a pile of faceless applicants vying for the same position.
When leaving the Defence it’s important to understand that your ‘brand’ is more than your history in the Defence force. That’s not to say that your Defence background may not contribute to your brand, and in fact a Defence background is a definite plus for some employers, but that you are more than just this element.
When trying to build your brand you first need to identify what your value proposition is. To do this you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my natural strengths and talents? What comes easier to me than other people?
- What do people seek me out for help with? What do people think of when they hear my name? (If you don’t know ask them, you’ll be surprised.)
- What am I passionate about? What do I love doing?
- What are my goals for the future and who needs to know me for me to be successful in this area?
Identifying your personal brand is not easy but knowing and being able to articulate your unique value compared to others in the job market is one of the most valuable tasks you can do for your future.
When you know what your brand is, the next step is to start to ensure that this brand is being conveyed consistently in your resume, on your LinkedIn, in your cover letters and through your actions. You may want to:
- Google yourself to see what people will find when they look you up, and they WILL look you up. Spend time honing your professional image on LinkedIn and other forums and getting rid of anything damaging online.
- Talk with your referees and recruiters to ensure they understand your goals and value offering when talking to potential employers.
- Search for opportunities to build your brand and professional credibility via professional groups, networking, events, articles or volunteer activities.
The ADF has built a strong brand. Now is the time for you to do the same. Good luck!