How to stand out and get hired faster with a personal brand
You’ve heard of Pepsi, right? You know what Mazda makes. What fast food establishment comes to mind when I say ‘Golden Arches?’ That is branding. Brands stir up emotions – think about that sizzling big Mac in the commercial or the Zoom Zoom in the Mazda ad.
Branded companies and products are easy to find. And they influence how you feel about their products and services. How easy are you to find? How much influence do you have?
A personal brand can help employers find you when they’re looking to hire, and it can influence their perception of you as a candidate. When you create a brand, you are taking control of your career. When you do it online, you are also making yourself Googleable.
How to get started on your personal brand:
1. Extract and identify your key strengths.
- Employers are looking to hire people for their unique strengths. Highlighting the areas that you stand out from the crowd is why more employers would want to hire you.
2. Know your target audience. When you know who you would like to work for and where, you can go to them. You can visit their blogs, follow them on Twitter, join their LinkedIn groups – and interact with them on all these platforms and more. This showcases you as someone who is connected and motivated.
3. Express yourself. Get your message out there. You are looking for credibility and heightened visibility. Create a portfolio of work by writing insightful posts, blog articles or opinion pieces. You can also gain credibility by sharing other people’s articles on social media, as long as they are consistent with your brand message.
Get your brand identity happening. Consider creating a personal business card that introduces you as a professional in your field. Acquire a signature style to your attire – your brand includes how you dress and present yourself as well. Find out what appeals to your potential employers and feed them what they like. Everyone at big accounting firms wear black except for the HR folks. Find out how you should dress when you go to a networking event or an interview, so you fit in but are memorable, in a positive way.
4. Exude your brand.
- Stay true to your brand image in all that you do. From the font you use on your business cards, to the way you dress, to how you spend your leisure time. A stranger should be able to see you in everything you do, where you go, and how you present yourself to the outside world. Ensure your voicemail message, email signature, and even your email address reflect the brand image that you want to project.
Branding yourself can be a fun and creative process. Ask a friend or colleague to help you put an action plan together today. Look at the exercise as your own professional make over reality TV show.
It can take time to build a credible brand presence, but the very exercise will have you acting and thinking like a career-focused professional. And that’s the first step to standing out from the competition.
Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How to Build Relationships That Count, How to Get a Job and Keep It
Co-author of The Power of Mentorship; The Mastermind Group