Over the last six months to a year, I have started really looking into the changing face of finding a job, particularly as a teacher. All over the country, we have found that it is increasingly difficult to find a position that we are trained for, and many mid-management jobs are hard to find, and teaching positions in Texas are not near as frequent as they used to be. So, part of the whole question has been, “How can I make myself more appealing as an applicant?”
Through my research for graphic design in teaching and researching more and more about communication graphics, I’ve come to think it’s important to market yourself as a resource for the talents you possess as an employee or service provider. You can see some stellar examples of eye-catching resumes created by graphic designers here. What do companies do to help make themselves memorable? They develop a brand. All of their communication has to do with that brand and company personality they develop. A logo is created, and used in a variety of situations.
Take Nike for example. What does everyone think of when they see the following swoosh symbol?
We instantly associate the iconic swoosh with the Nike company and the variety of sporting goods they produce. The company name does not need to be present, we just see the symbol and know. After years of marketing, the logo has become known worldwide.
With that being said, I think it’s increasingly important to develop a “self-brand” of sorts when trying to find a new job or place of employment. Afterall–what is the product you are trying to sell? Yourself!
If you develop a personal brand for yourself, and utilize it through the communication with potential employers, you are more likely to stand out, meaning this increases the chances of you getting job offers!
Notice the above designed package is for an elementary teacher. Does the logo feature a chalkboard, apple, or primary colors? NO! It does not have to! Just like how Nike’s logo is not a shoe! The important thing is that I kept the package creative, yet professional. I featured color, but not too much of it, and utilized the same colors, fonts, and shapes throughout each piece of the package.
There are four basic parts to the self-branding packages I have created:
- Logo: Create some sort of image or graphic that demonstrates your personality.
This does not have to be elaborate, and is actually preferred to be simple, just needs to make a statement. Use this logo on all of your correspondence!
- Letterhead: Create a letterhead of some sort that features your logo and contact information. This will be used on your resume and can also be used for your references, cover letters, etc. You may consider using two different kinds of letterhead to fit the project, but the important part is that it all coordinates—same type of font, colors, and logo.
- Business Card: You may say, “but I don’t have a job! How can I have a business card!?” WRONG! How do you easily grab information from someone that you want to remember to contact in the future? You ask for a business card of course! Will you always be carrying copies of your resume? Odds are you probably won’t, but if you have a business card handy, you can easily get your information to someone who happens to know someone who’s looking for a teacher!
- Notecard: A notecard is usually a flat card in a variety of sizes; I typically make ones for A2 (4.25×5.5″.) I am a FIRM believer that thank you notes should always be custom and handwritten, not to mention, it’s also another way to keep your name at the front of the mind of someone who interviewed you for a job. With a custom designed notecard, a potential employer sees your logo once again, and begins to associate your name with this symbol. The employer also notices your appreciation of time and effort of their consideration of you, which demonstrates thoughtfulness and that you take the job seriously. I recommend sending a thank you note on the same day as the interview through the mail.
These pieces of stationary will help create a brand for yourself and help you stand out of the stack of resumes potential employers might be looking through.
Other ideas for utilizing your personal brand:
- incorporate your logo and design on an online portfolio or blog. (keeps the brand and association going!)
- Use your logo design in the signature part of your email that you use for correspondence.
- Use your custom color in creating QR codes to your teacher certification in your resume.
Wendy is not someone I would describe as traditional and somewhat of a “tomboy,” but I would also say that she is very professional, prides herself in upholding ethics in teaching, and is incredibly sweet & kind. Wendy also is a writer and studied Social Studies with me in college, (and managed to put up with me for three years as a roommate–HOLLA!) I wanted to reflect her creativity yet, sense of pride in professionalism in her logo and add just enough feminine touch without going so far as to integrating pink and florals, at which point I’m sure she’d shoot me (the bird.) So, in creating her logo and package, I went with a slate blue that I consider to be modern, yet used pretty traditional fonts, because Wendy is certainly not trendy. The swirls are used to show off her creative side as a writer that adds just a touch femininity.
Wendy recently went in for an interview and was offered a job on the spot, even when up against hundreds of applicants! Having a package together and presenting yourself professionally on paper and in person can leave a lasting impression of good vibes when it comes to interviewing.
What about my personal brand, you may ask? Here it is below:
Everything coordinates—even my QR code on my business card is the same color as my brand color. I use the same scroll throughout the designs, and continue my fonts and colors on all pieces. Some pieces I use Christina Lee and others I use Christina Carpenter—but moreso because my business is Christina Lee as a photographer and my legal name is Christina Carpenter. Even my blog header coordinates with the rest of my package.
So, in closing, take some time to really develop yourself and market yourself as an individual with services to offer; in the end you will appear more professional, and make a more lasting impression on employers, increasing the chances that you will get the job offer you want!
If you would like to consult with me to create a personal brand and marketing materials for you, I can certainly do so! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and check back here for more tips on developing your brand!