In today’s job climate, job seekers must go above and beyond to razzle and dazzle potential employers. There are more candidates than available jobs, and thus, those desiring gainful employment need to show what separates them from other qualified applicants.
Just as companies advertise their products and services to consumers, job seekers now need to market themselves to employers. Before you apply for that next job or show up for your next interview, ask yourself: what is my career brand?
When determining what your career brand is, keep these questions in mind:
- What skills and values do I bring to the table?
- What have I accomplished thus far in my career, and how will this contribute to future successes?
- What is my online reputation? If someone “Googled” my name, what would they find?
- What image do my social networks present? Is there any inappropriate information (i.e. comments or pictures) that I should take down?
Once you’ve answered the aforementioned questions, your task is to bring your brand to life. The 3 steps to building your career brand include:
- Networking with Others. Attend business mixers, professional association events, conferences, etc. Introduce yourself to others and engage them in conversation. Be prepared at all times with business cards on hand to pass out to the people you encounter; you never know who might become or may be able to connect you to your next client or employer.
- Promoting Brand “YOU” like there’s no tomorrow. Paint the picture of the professional you are with a professional website (i.e. yournamehere.com) to provide information about yourself (i.e. bio, resume, etc.) or create a page on a website like About.me or Re.vu. Make use of online portfolios to serve as a one-stop shop for your work (i.e. articles, speeches, videos, etc.). Get a LinkedIn profile (with a professional picture as your profile picture) and search engine optimize it to the fullest.
- Building Your Reputation as an Expert. Write a blog about topics relevant to your career field. Join groups on LinkedIn and answer questions. Take part in Tweet Chats on Twitter and chime in on the conversations. Create a niche specific social network on Ning. Develop a YouTube or UStream channel or an online radio show to discuss important career-related topics. Post presentation on Slideshare. Offer to speak for free. Write white papers. The list goes on and on so choose a few options you’ll actually commit to and run with them.
Ultimately, you have to take charge of the message others receive about you. Putting in the time to carefully develop a strategy to cultivate your professional brand can possibly mean the difference between a job and your dream career.
Consistency is key when communicating your brand to others. What you say about yourself in one place is what should be said elsewhere. Keep your information current and be aware of what’s being said about you (both good and bad). With that said, good luck and get started on creating Brand “YOU”!
Have you already developed your career brand? What are some tips you can offer? If you haven’t developed your brand, what’s one step you plan to take toward doing so?