*The product is an item or service produced and offered by the company for sale in the market. A brand is an entity like the logo, symbol or name used by the companies, to make their products identifiable among other products in the marketplace. A product can be your need, but the brand is something more than that.*
Thinking about “Brand You” was pioneered by Tom Peters in 1997. The idea of candidates being like products stems from the notion of personal branding. Individual resume writers advertise their personal branding skills and promote their ability to develop superior resumes, ones that improve a candidate’s attractiveness to employers. In my opinion, resume headlines/job titles should interpret and communicate a unique value proposition (not be a soundbite that mimics how consumer goods are advertised.) Today, employers, like consumers, don’t buy a brand, they demand proof. Read what this means in The New Rules of Job Search for Executives
Why think of job seekers as products?
A candidate described as a product means that employers have a choice among many competitors to provide a solution like a consumer has to decide among different brands to fulfill their needs. It does not mean that candidates are “just a product” or should promote themselves as a commodity. Commodities are in a weak position because there are many of them sharing the same value to a consumer.
Calling a candidate a product doesn’t mean that they should be like all the other choices. Rather, it means to think like the employer is a consumer who has multiple options. If you want to be the winning candidate, you must stand out. How do products stand out? By differentiating themselves. For this reason, candidates must distinguish themselves as reliable experts by showing not only what they do but how they get the job done. This requires documenting relevant qualifications and persuasive credentials as better than all other options the employer has.
How can a candidate prove their product is the best? By presenting evidence of their skills and knowledge, examples (success stories) demonstrating their competencies with proof of accomplishments and description of their credentials (which add up to be qualified.) Then also communicating enthusiasm and drive sufficient to resolve the employer’s challenge and fulfill the promise of their value proposition.
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