It sounds like another buzz word. A passing trend. Another road block between you and your next “best job ever.”
You’ve put in your educational time getting degreed and/or trained. You’ve beefed up your work experience and related skills. You did the hard part … now you’ve got to launch your own personal marketing campaign?
Yes. Yes, you do. If you want the jobs that jibe with who you are and pay you what you’re worth.
Does it strike you as phony? Braggy? A desperate ploy? Then you are thinking about personal branding the wrong way.
Branding your résumé
Personal branding in the job hunt is little more than thinking about what you do, who you are and why you are the best choice for any given job. Then, it’s conveying that message in appealing and consistent ways. It’s presenting all that you are and all you bring to the job in a way that makes the hiring manager have to call you.
Your résumé, cover letters, email signatures and all correspondence should convey your brand. Use color. Use graphics. Get rid of passive voice. Every aspect of your résumé should be there for a reason- to back up your brand.
Social media … not just for vacation bragging anymore
Social media is a powerful tool in crafting a personal brand. We’ve done it for years without even realizing it on Facebook, then Twitter, and now LinkedIn and others.
Now that Facebook has been around for 10 years … Now that we’ve all posted as many dinner selections, kid pictures and political rants as anyone can handle … “Personal branding consciousness” may be cause to tone all that down and think more about what our online presence says about us.
Many of us are aware that our social media use creates a persona, rather than accurate record, of our lives. We’ve all have those friends who seem to just ooze happiness, success and getting the most out of life. And we have those who seem to exist in a perpetual state of dismay or anger. These are the unconscious personas we create as we choose which details of our daily life to share.
Let’s face it: we’ve just got to understand that anything we put out there is viewable. It’s time to craft the message, especially if you are searching for a job.
Turn the internet into your domain
It’s not grandiose to also consider purchasing your own domain and making a low cost or free website. WordPress offer free wordpress.com subdomains (such as ITJobMatch.wordpress.com) or custom domains (ITJobMatch.com) for at little at $3/mo. In under an hour you can establish a domain, build a website or blog and start branding.
Why is this important?
Platforms can change, or suddenly decide to start charging users. Everyone should have have LinkedIn for job search and branding purposes. But a website is entirely under your control. You can use it as a professional portfolio for posting industry or personal writings and work samples. It also shows a great deal of moxie; that you’re serious about your work and presentation. It puts you one step ahead of what your competition is doing.
Owning your brand, and the job
Personal branding is simply a more targeted effort of what we do on social media, with an end goal of impressing prospective employers (and, really, anyone who views our content). Another benefit of putting your brand out there is attracting the attention of employers and companies who gel will your brand- all that you are personally- for a better fit within the work environment.
This is definitely a millennial mindset approach to the job hunt. In days past, job seekers were advised to ease down personal flair in order to have the widest appeal to a variety of potential employers. This resulted in employees often living dual lives; creating a work self and a home self that switched on and off with the hands of the clock.
Now, companies, particularly creative and industrious tech companies, seem to be embracing workers who fall outside the mold. They seek connection, energy and drive. What’s resulted is the freedom to bring more of one’s self into the workplace.
So, how do you begin crafting your brand?
- Create a theme or motto; a short phrase that sums you up. From my LinkedIn page … “I am a progressive change-maker; a dreamer and do-er, who uses story-telling to make readers care about people, things and issues in our world.” That gets at the heart of who I am and what I want to achieve in anything I do.
- Write a résumé that reflects this persona, and individual cover letters for each application that play to that brand.
- On social media, choose a profile picture that exemplifies your brand. Post original thoughts or share industry content that backs up your own feelings.
- Build that website. Showcase your strengths. If your resume and cover letter catch a hiring manager’s eye, your url gives them a place to go for more information where you can really dazzle them.
- Then, just be aware. To build that brand, everything you say and do and write should tie in to that motto.
Personal branding can be intimidating because it involves making decisive choices are who we are, what we care about and what we’re good at. And it has to be honest, and attainable in the job we want.
Not everyone will like what we choose to present. But it’s best to be true to yourself and prospective bosses. If you don’t fit a particular culture, trust us, you don’t want that particular job.