Develop Your Personal Brand

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Career Advisory Board member and business and workplace consultant Alexandra Levit.

DeVry University released a survey that takes aim at dispelling gloomy myths about the job market. The Career Advisory Board, established by DeVry University, released the results of the Job Preparedness Indicator, a national survey that showcased what key skills employers deem most important in prospective employees, but is least common among job seekers. “What the most striking finding, I feel of the study, was that we always talk about there being a skill gap and that job seekers out there do not have the right skills to fill up those positions,” said Career Advisory Board member for DeVry University Alexandra Levit, who has also authored several books. “Essentially, the Job Preparedness Indicator assesses the value of key skill sets. So if a particular skill was given a high score that means it is considered to be very important, but also very rare.”

More than 14 million Americans are looking for work, yet 3.1 million jobs remain unfilled because hiring managers at top U.S. companies are unable to find qualified candidates. “This is absolutely astounding. There is actually a disconnect on behalf of the job seeker,” said Levit. More than 70 percent feel that they know how to present their skills. This is a critical problem because the job seekers feel that they are confident in their abilities, but at the same time they either don’t know how to present their skill or they don’t have the skills to begin with.” On behalf of the Career Advisory Board, the survey interviewed 540 hiring managers and 734 job seekers to determine what attributes employers consider most important. “The message is really positive,” said Levit. “It is not like we previously thought where you can interview for a hundred jobs and not get one because it was not going to be available. The truth is there are little tiny things that you can do in your everyday life that can be affective and marketable.” Levit dispenses key strategies to improve job search success for job candidates.

Demonstrate a mastery of critical skills
Before diving into a job search, it’s important to take a step back and examine your capabilities from the perspective of a hiring manager:

  • Think about the job and how your qualifications meet the specific needs of the position, and identify areas where you can illustrate quantifiable results
  • If entering a new field, create a skills-based resume that highlights specific capabilities relevant for the job

Increase repertoire of capabilities
To obtain valuable and relevant experience, take ownership of your development by looking for opportunities to improve your core competencies and learning those skill sets that are valued by employers.

If you are unemployed:

  • Seek an internship or volunteer opportunity to gain critical real-world knowledge and expand your professional network
  • Clearly demonstrate your proficiency of these newly-acquired skills to your prospective employer and explain how they can be transferred to the workplace

If you are employed:

  • Take advantage of corporate training programs to improve communication skills and problem-solving abilities
  • Pursue stretch assignments that will challenge you to learn and grow in your field

Develop a personal brand
A strong and memorable personal brand that captures the attention of prospective employers on social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, will set you apart from the competition.

  • Identify your unique talents, what you are passionate about and the type of expertise you can bring to employers
  • Ensure that your social media profile and in-person networking reflects your personal brand while fostering relationships through alumni and peer-to-peer networks

Seek mentorship
Developing a mentoring relationship will help you build a foundation and set the pace for your career. Mentors can help you learn about a realistic career path and what it takes to succeed.

  • Build a mentoring relationship with a person who works in a similar or related field – both online and offline
  • Find mentors through professional organizations, alumni associations and non-profit

If you would like to further explore the Job Preparedness Indicator survey, visit

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