When you’re starting a job search, your goal is to make your credentials strong enough to get you selected for a job interview. Once you land into a job interview, you can sell yourself to the interviewer by confidently representing and showcasing yourself making them realize that you’re an exceptional candidate for that specific job. Before that though, what’s on your resume and cover letter is going to be the pitch that gets you picked for an interview.
No really. You do. It's the way you walk, talk, dress, and go about your daily life. You’re unique, and your friends and coworkers have an opinion about you — that’s all that personal branding, and branding in general, is.
There are lots of ways to communicate to the world, and everything should be said in the same voice. If you’re professional during a job interview but your Facebook is full of party pictures, you will confuse any hire manager — or potential client — who’s checking you out.
Branding (if you haven’t worked on creating a brand yet) or rebranding (if you’re considering a job or career shift), means deciding what professional path you’re on and tailoring your credentials, expertise, and what’s visible to network connections and prospective employees, to match that brand.
Your brand, besides showing what you’re capable of doing and where you’re heading, will show employers what you can bring to the table and how you will add value to their organization.
If you’re looking for a career change, you’ll need to invest more time and energy into rebranding yourself.
A branding statement is a short and catchy statement that encompasses what makes you a strong candidate for a job. Taking time to write your own statement will help you to focus on what you want to achieve with your branding.
Adding a branding statement to your resume is a way to show employers how you can add value to the organization if you were to be hired. Don’t use the same branding statement every time you use your resume to apply for a job. If your branding statement isn’t a perfect match for the job, take the time to tweak it so it reflects the attributes the employer is seeking. As with all job search materials, it’s important to show the employer how you're among the best-qualified candidates for the job.
Also, update your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t have to match your resume exactly, but it should be close enough to pass scrutiny because employers will check it.
Is the message you’re sending to recruiters and networking connections consistent? When they look at each of your various public social media accounts will they get the same impression? Consistency is important when you’re using social media for career development.
When you’re looking for a major job shift or a career change, rebranding might be an option for you. You don’t want to advertise to your current manager, other employees of the company, or clients that you’re rebranding your credentials and seeking new opportunities. That way you won’t jeopardize the job you have, and you can move on when you’re ready.
Making small changes over time will be less noticeable. For instance, you could make changes to your LinkedIn profile by reworking on some of your job descriptions to fit better the brand you’re aiming for. They should still reflect what you did at each job, but the focus can shift.
The headline section of LinkedIn is designed for short, descriptive text. Use that to highlight the skills you have that match your goals. Again, don’t get too far off-base from your current role if you’re employed. If you’re not currently working, you’ve got some more flexibility in how you write your headline.
Another option is to keep your LinkedIn job descriptions brief and vague. Instead of changing LinkedIn, you can tweak your resume to match better with each position you’re applying for. There are small and simple, but very powerful changes that you can make that can have a big positive impact.
What’s in your cover letter is between you and the hiring manager reading it. Write a targeted cover letter that highlights your strongest accomplishments and assets that qualify you for the job, helping to convince the hiring manager that you’re well worth interviewing.
Rebranding your career isn’t a one-time deal. Technology changes, the economy goes up – or down, in-demand skills change over time, and most people’s career aspirations change along the way. Tweak your job descriptions as you move forward so they reflect where you are going, as well as where you’ve been.
When it comes to personal branding, people do forget some key things to remember:
Employers use everything they can as a screening tool. Your email address is no exception, and it influences your chances for an interview. In one study, 73 recruiters saw six resumes. All candidates had the same credentials and experience, but the ones with “cute” email addresses were rated lower. While you do have more creative license to make these unique and expressive, overly silly ones may not equate to the best brand strategy.
It’s also not a good idea to apply to jobs with your work email address. You’ll send a message that you’re searching for new work on your current company's dime and that you may do the same to other employers in the future. Your current company is not your target audience for new job search emails; keep it separate.
Your resume should answer these questions:
The heart of your resume is your unique selling proposition. This tells someone hiring why they should care about you. 65 per cent of hiring managers are looking to hire specialists, yet most people position themselves as generalists. If you have a skin problem, would you seek out a general practitioner or an expert dermatologist? Think of your brand strategy in a similar way.
Most resumes are full of buzzwords like “results-oriented professional,” but these need to be demonstrated through storytelling. The language and tone you use are important. You want them to feel intrigued like there is a brilliant mind behind the piece of paper.
Every good ad asks for the sale, and your resume should, too. They want to hire you if you can fix a problem, so make it clear in your written communications that you can.
If you’re shopping online and you don’t actually see any good product photos, don’t you wonder why?
Don’t promise one thing and deliver another.
Ninety per cent of hiring managers/recruiters/HR departments use social media to screen candidates. And when it comes to knowing how to brand yourself, your online presence is a huge indicator to employers. In fact, having a quality photo in your social media profile makes you seven times more likely to be considered.
To help you out, I want to share a tool! Use Photofeeler.com to test your profile photos. Business photos are judged in three categories: Competence, Likeability, Influence. By voting on other people’s photos, you can earn free votes on your own.
Customers reach for products that are visually appealing.
In order to set yourself apart from other products, you’ll need to sell your distinguishing features.
Customers want to believe in the products they buy. Therefore, obtaining referrals from a source your potential customer's trust is the most effective way to sell yourself.
Because customers don’t want to overpay for products and services — especially in today’s market — you’ll need to be flexible with your salary requirements.
There’s no doubt that job-seekers face over 50 special challenges. Nevertheless, if you’re armed with the right information and attitude you can brand yourself to attract employers who will value your skills and experience. To determine the features that will set you apart, make certain you’re projecting the attributes your customers are seeking and anticipate success. Who knows?
The State of B2B Social Media Marketing 2015 report said that 91 per cent of marketers uses LinkedIn. Why does this matter to you as someone who’s looking for a job?
The reality is you are a brand. You have to treat yourself as a product. Sell yourself to a business.
The principles of B2B marketing apply just as much to you as they do to a corporate entity.
We as humans are more likely to take something on board if we can see it, or if it plays out in front of us. It’s why if we asked you to memorize the first line of chapter four of your favourite book you would have a hard time telling us. However, if we asked you to describe your last day of high school you could do it easily because it happened in front of your eyes.
Companies are going to take one look at you and make an instant judgment. The experts at Sprout Social reported that on social media people are 98 per cent more likely to respond to an image than a piece of text.
So with that in mind, you have to create a platform dedicated to you. That includes:
It may sound like the right option, but it’s actually the worst thing you can you do.
Employers see right through it. They know when you are pretending to be someone you’re not. Begin by using keywords on your website and on any social media profiles you have. It will make it more likely that you are going to show up in the search results.
In addition, the key is to do it repeatedly. The more times you tell someone something, the more likely they are to take it in.
This is the key question you have to answer. You might think you are creative and exciting, but the reality is you’re not a special snowflake. Employers will find ten people who claim to be ‘innovative’ and who can work as a team’.
You’ll have to do better than that if you’re going to get the job.
First, think about some unique experiences and projects you have worked on in the past. We’re going to give you two examples to illustrate this point.
Starting your own blog is the first step on the road to that job.
There are numerous reasons to start a blog, but the biggest one is to show you are proactive and you’re not simply writing resumes all day. This shows that you have nothing going on outside of that.
You don’t have to write about anything interesting. Simply show people what you are doing in your daily life. Maybe you went to an exciting networking event?
It doesn’t make any difference if you gain a worldwide following. What matters is that you’re branding yourself, increasing your notoriety in the search engines, and making it more likely that someone is going to take notice.
Yes, we have completely disregarded LinkedIn as part of this guide. Not even for one moment, we suggest you abandon this platform as it remains one of the most effective tools available on the internet today. To make it work for you, spend some time each day:
The thing to keep in mind is that this is just a small tool available to you. Look farther afield for more branding options and you’re going to be more likely to get that dream job.
Finding the perfect job does take time. If possible, we recommend lining up a job before you quit your current one. This takes the strain away from you and prevents you from taking the first job you see simply to pay the bills.
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