In today’s increasingly competitive labor market, whether you’re applying for a job, seeking a promotion or planning a major career change, having a solid resumé may not be enough. So, how do you stand out from the competition? Here are five suggestions:

1

Identify your attributes

Everyone has a personal brand, whether they know it or not. One way to discover yours is to think about your personality traits, strengths, interests and values. What makes you tick? Think about where you shine, what goals you dream about achieving and what values are important to you. Then, formulate a personal mission statement that captures these attributes.

2

Develop goals

When you’re an expert at something, people will naturally buy into your brand. But it takes time to define what you want to be known for. Develop clear goals regarding your area of expertise, and then invest time and effort to reach them. Don’t limit your dreams or prematurely judge whether they’re realistic. Start broadly.

3

Define your audience

All successful brands know their target markets. Your personal brand should be no different. Start by researching the industries and job functions that interest you. Then conduct informational interviews with professionals in the field. You can also try volunteerism, internships and freelance work to get direct exposure to the career fields that interest you. Consider it a test drive.

4

Tell a story

Establish the central theme of your brand by developing one to three sentences that communicate your experience, education and what you can accomplish in your desired role. Establish credibility by including specific examples of success stories and competencies earned through education and on-the-job responsibilities. This is your elevator pitch. Practice and internalize it so you can deliver it naturally and confidently.

5

Audit your brand

An important part of promoting your brand is evaluating your online presence. Remember that when you engage in online activity, you leave behind a digital trace of information that will be associated with your brand. If you don’t want a potential employer to see something about you online, delete it. Focus instead on keeping your social profiles and resumé updated with classes or new skills that can refresh your brand.

Follow these five steps to help you refine your personal brand and stand out in the marketplace. Get started and have fun.

Steven Starks is a senior career counselor at University of Phoenix, a National Certified Counselor and a featured career coach with TheMuse.com.