I provided coaching for job search and personal branding last week to a very experienced executive in a small, contracting and youth obsessed industry. The executive knows he needs to change fields but has been unable to get Personal Branding Helps One Stand Outtraction.

He talked for an hour providing snippets of successes from a long series of usually short-term jobs with a good progression into management. It was obvious that he had been successful at all levels.

Unfortunately, he has been unable to get potential employers to see a connection between his work in a niche market and their businesses.

There were claims in his LinkedIn profile about management skills and in his resume about financial expertise. These two key job search tools did not communicate a consistent message. Additionally, he had followed a recommendation to use a functional resume, probably trying to hide his category, age, and unemployment. This well meaning but bad advice resulted in long lists of bullet points of accomplishments without much meaning to his audience.

What he didn’t do anywhere was tell a cohesive story about what he could do for a potential employer.

As we talked, I developed a new concept, at least for me:

BOGO Personal Branding

Importantly, BOGO is not the same as a supermarket coupon where you get twice as much of a single item for your money. It is, however, similar to coupons that allow you to purchase two products from different categories and get the cheaper one for free.

According to Wikipedia: “The cost per item is proportionately cheaper (with a BOGO) than if bought on its own.” This cost savings is extremely valuable to smaller companies without the resources to hire two top quality managers.

We worked on his “Two For the Money” (apparently also the title of a pretty bad movie I have never seen) approach that can make him a bargain as well as unique.

Buy One

His primary selling focus: General Manager for smaller companies that need a #2 person to develop, execute, and get results.

To get a GM job, he must prove that he already has been an excellent General Manager and is good at all of the typical responsibilities and reporting functions, including finance, human resources, product/service development, sales, marketing, and operations.

This has to be the focus of his communications.

Get One Free

His secondary selling benefit that separates him from the other candidates who can do the General Manager job: financial skills to make the company more profitable.

He needs to make his financial skills evident, but this should not be the focus of his presentation. He needs to present his financial acumen as a core facet of his G.M. successes.

The “Two For” must be tightly combined into a single positioning and not a litany of skills. To be effective, this positioning needs to be an integrated combination so one function is the steak and the other is the hook.

A good LinkedIn Profile heading for him could be as simple as: Seasoned General Manager with Financial Expertise.

The word “with” is the key that makes finance secondary. It should not be “and” which would sell him as an athlete who could play two positions (and therefore is unlikely to be the best choice for either).

Perhaps the logo for the acronym should be BOGO to communicate that, while closely linked, one is more valuable than the other to potential employers.