Your personal brand is comprised of many things. Some aspects of your brand change and develop over time. However, some aspects of your brand stick with you for many years. Examples of lasting brand aspects that define you include your education and your employers. Particularly for the ten years following your association with a certain company, you are partially defined by that company. Let’s consider how your employer’s brand affects your personal brand and your job search.
Recruiters and employers establish search criteria to find candidates. Search criteria is a collection of keywords meant to identify suitable candidates. In many cases, recruiters and candidates use company names as search criteria so they can find candidates currently working at a company or with prior experience at a particular company. That is an example of how an employer with a strong brand, such as Google or Goldman Sachs, can elevate your brand.
Corporate Alumni Groups
Working for the same company, even across different locations or departments, facilitates bonding. If you join corporate alumni groups, on LinkedIn for example, you can connect with others from your former employer. If you are a current or a former employer of a large company, participate in online corporate alumni groups. Your employment gives you entre to this special group and is a definite brand builder.
Reputation by Association
Does your employer have a reputation for “cheesy” advertisements, low-quality products, fraud, or poor customer service? If so, that reputation can follow you and tarnish your brand. The longer you stay at that employer, the worse the impact can be. The lesson is to carefully vet prospective employers. Before accepting a job offer, be sure this is an employer with whom you want to be linked.
Seal of Approval
Some companies have such a robust brand that your employment at that company can open doors for you at hiring companies, clients, and investors. This is because top companies can afford to be very selective. If you attain a job with one of those upper echelon companies, it is well-known that you were selected under close scrutiny and that you were the best of the candidate pool. Other companies are recognized for exceptional training programs so employers feel comfortable that you are well-trained.
Your brand is something of value that you should carefully develop and protect. If you have employers in your past that are lack-luster, take control of that situation. If this employment was more than ten years ago, omit it from your resume and online profiles. If it is a recent history, be clear about your role and place in the company to separate yourself from the “unflattering” aspect of the company. Give more attention to more appealing parts of your career history. If you are connected to a positive brand, feature that connection on your resume and online profile. Build your brand by linking yourself to employers with strong, positive brands and you’ll be rewarded with a boost to your brand.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.