More and more interview articles and career coaches will tell you that in order to do well in an interview - and to ultimately get the job offer - you must "Be Prepared."

But what if you don't know how to prepare?

"What does preparing for an interview look like?"

"How do I know what they are going to ask?" "How can I make them I hire me?" "What if I'm not REALLY qualified or able to do this job?"

Where do you find the answers to these common concerns and questions?

A Tough Job Market

You are more than aware that you are in a tough job market and that you will have to do something to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd. You realize that you are competing against the odds.

The question is, "How can you make yourself stand out when there are so many other candidates looking at the same job?"

The answer is: "Personal Interview branding"

What is Branding Yourself?

This is what companies do when they want to sell something - they use whatever methods necessary to tell the customers who they are, what they do and how they do it - they "brand" the product.

I'm not a product? How do I brand myself?

Begin to think of yourself as a product. What this means is you have to discover What Makes You Unique - and to begin thinking of yourself like a product. This is one of the main secrets of successful preparation.

Effective branding used in the interview is the same as in business. It is telling the customer (in this case the interviewer) who you are; what you can do and have done in the past (your unique qualities); and why they should buy (hire you).

Call For An Interview

Let's assume that you have an outstanding resume and that you make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be called for an interview.

First of all -Congratulations on getting this far.

The problem is that You and along with nine or ten other equally qualified people for the position will receive that same call.

Are you the best? You had better be prepared to prove that you are the best by letting the interviewer know what makes you unique and what you can do for them - you you will bring to the position. Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people so that they can select the "best."

What makes you a "remember-able" person? When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview it is essential that you be ready to sell yourself - to let the interviewer know what makes you unique - What added value you can bring to the position?

Why YOU are the best person for the job?

Your objective is to leave behind an impression of you and your "brand."

Preparation

By doing some basic preparation, you can determine your uniqueness and where you should focus your attention. You can discover your personal interview "brand."

First, you need to identify the points you have to offer - the combination that makes you Unique.

This will be a combination of your education, experience and any special training or certifications you may have, as well as your area of expertise, your strengths, and your personal traits.

You create your statement by listing all these qualities and then making them into a concise statement to present to the employer when any of the standard questions come up.

"Tell me about yourself." "What makes you unique?" "What can you bring to this position that the other candidates can or can't?" "What are you strengths?" "Tell me something about you that will make me remember you after you leave the interview."

You can develop the answers to these questions by using "5 points" to use during the interview. If you use your five fingers to keep focused you can jog your memory if you forget what you were going to say due to being nervous.

Point #1

Your education and years of experience. (More experienced persons will talk mainly about experience and not education.

Point #2

Your area of expertise - or what you know a lot about. (For less experienced people you will have to rely on classes or courses you've taken).

Point #3

Your strength - this is usually a trait that you can use in any job. In other words, a general trait. (Communication, Relating to Others, Analytical Problem Solving, Determination, Adaptability).

Point #4

Your work ethic or work style (This is what coworkers would say to describe you).

Point #5

Something interesting about you (A hobby, somewhere that you volunteer to do, a sport or arts interest. If you can think of something that relates to the job you are applying for that would be a plus).

By summarizing what you have to offer in a methodical way you will be less apt to wander or forget what you intended to say.

You can write out your job winning brand or you can search for online tools to help you create your personal interview brand.

Regardless of the method you use - you should be prepared. It will make a difference in the way that you present yourself and in your being able to talk openly and without being modest about what you have to offer. You will be able to tell the interviewer why they should hire YOU - and what makes you unique.

Preparation will help you in ALL your interactions - social, business, and your day-to-day life. The more you know yourself and are will to talk openly about yourself the more comfortable you will be in talking about yourself - to anybody.