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Me, Myself and I - Personal Brand.

Leanne Loughran – Manager, Talent Acquisition – Industrial Light & Magic

Application…

As I open the “new mail” envelope icon I always will ask myself the same important question.

Who is the person behind the application and what does their personal brand start to tell me?

Your career journey has one constant – YOU. As you join a company your interaction from the moment you apply has started to leave a footprint. Forming an impression on everything and everyone. This is why developing your personal brand will act as your ally as you navigate through your career.

A personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are. It is how you present yourself to the world.[1]

When applying for any role in the VFX and Animation industry you start by compiling a list of material to submit.

Company and role research ✔️

Cover email/letter ✔️

CV/Resume ✔️

Showreel ✔️

Breakdowns ✔️

Website ✔️

Portfolio ✔️

LinkedIN profile updated ✔️

What is often overlooked as you focus on checking the boxes; is that you are completing them as individual detached tasks. If you look at the above list as a complete package you are starting to see the project form together and thus the creation of your personal brand story.

Your personal brand is how you demonstrate and portray your skill sets and expertise to set you out from the crowd.

Like shots from a movie; you would expect that the lighting or materials to be consistent across each shot from the same scene. With your application package you would expect the same aesthetic. By unifying a logo or font from your showreel to an accompanying breakdown document it starts to become part of your brand. The copy used in your website or online professional account is consistent with your CV. The quality and shot selection should be relative and well thought out – visually identifiable as part of the same package.


Interview…

Personal brand isn’t just about job application material. So, let’s fast forward - you have a job interview (thanks to your awesome application!)

Like any product that’s been selected from the shelf, it’s the outer packaging that helps attract the consumer. However, what is on the inside and the quality of the product will see continued success.

How can your personal brand help at the interview stage? Remember this potential employer likes you and wants to find out more. Being selected for an interview is a great testament to how you have sold yourself on digital paper – you have been picked off the shelf!

So deep breath – focus on your greatest asset to land this job – YOU. Let’s work on personal brand in the interview and the 3 P’s.


Preparation

Prepare for the interview by looking up who is interviewing you and their role. Research the company and have talking points about any current or past projects the studio has worked on. Prepare some questions to ask at the end. Try to ask genuine questions that you want to know, not generic questions you think you should ask. Remember your questions could also be a window into who you are as a person, this is an opportunity to work on your personal brand.

Presentation

How you conduct yourself and the body language you use will help form a positive impression of you. Think about what work you show on the screen, you may be asked to share your reel. Rehearse being able to confidently talk through what you have presented and your involvement. The interviewers may use the STAR method to dive deeper (Situation, Task, Action and Result) Have examples ready.

Positivity

Make sure you leave a positive impact and ensure you follow up with a thank you post interview – this etiquette is rarely done and really leaves a positive impression.


New Role…

Congratulations you landed the job! Now you are in your new role creating and contributing to incredible content. The journey for personal brand development does not end there. How you engage with your work colleagues, and social interactions at your new company all form who you are - adding to your constantly evolving personal brand. Your brand should be nurtured, it can grow as you do in your professional career.

Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Jeff Bezos. 21 Jan 2020


Future You…

As with all journeys there are cross roads and changes of direction in store. You should protect your personal brand at these junctions by exiting with the same positivity that you entered with.


YOU have got this thanks to you.


[1] Forbes, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon, Feb 12, 2019.

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