The Top Places to Brand Yourself in Your Job Search
When gearing up for a job search, there are plenty of details to think about. But how much time are you spending on developing and communicating your personal brand?
Personal branding is the process of identifying the unique and differentiating value that you bring to an organization, team and/or project. To put it simply, what is the word or phrase that represents the skills and experience you bring to the table? Learn how to develop your personal brand with our past blog post.
Just as important as developing your personal brand is communicating it in a memorable and consistent manner in all of your actions to current and prospective stakeholders in your career.
Effective personal branding across all your job search activities online and offline makes you stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters with a strong, positive first impression. However, to be truly effective, consistency is key across the channels in which you participate so that you can increase the memorability or "stickiness" of your personal brand among career stakeholders.
Here is a list of important places where you should plug your personal brand to optimize its delivery and impact during your job search:
- Make sure to include your personal brand in your LinkedIn profile headline so anyone searching for professionals can easily see your brand and identify you.
- Include your personal brand or pitch in your profile's summary section.
- You may also include your personal brand in your signature when posting threads or responding to threads on the discussion boards of any LinkedIn groups you have joined.
- Include your personal brand in the "About You" section of your profile page. This is a small and subtle way to incorporate your professional, personal brand into your social networking activities.
- Make sure that all of the content on your profile is something that you're comfortable having a prospective employer see. Remember that with Facebook's timeline layout, it's easier than ever for people to look at old Facebook content you may have forgotten about.
- Include your personal brand and any links to your website, blog and/or professional networks in your email signatures. This will help communicate your brand internally within your company, school or organization as well as externally with family, friends, customers, partners, prospective employers and recruiters. If you use Gmail, WiseStamp is a free email application that allows you to customize your email signatures with all of this information in an attractive, branded format.
- You should consider including your personal brand in your voicemail message so that all callers, known or unknown, hear you present your own brand.
Resume and Cover Letter
- Many professionals are now including a personal summary/objective at the top of their resumes. This is a useful place to include your personal brand and pitch.
- In your cover letters, whether in email or document format, include your personal brand and pitch in a paragraph following your initial introduction paragraph. No matter how you tailor the rest of your cover letter to fit a specific opportunity, this presents you and your promise beyond your experience and skills, and makes you more memorable.
- If you are interested in creating your own website, this is the ideal place for branding yourself. Include your one-or-two-word personal brand and brand statement or pitch in the site's subtitle or description, or create a page or post about yourself and link to it from your site menu.
- You might also consider purchasing a custom domain name (i.e., your own name, your personal brand) to really establish your site as the hub for your personal brand and other important information about yourself.
- If you're interested in creating and managing your own blog, this is an ideal place to brand yourself and demonstrate your personal brand directly through your content and expertise. You can make this part of your personal website or totally separate depending on your objectives. WordPress is one of the leading blogging/website platforms and is a great starting point if you're interested.
- If you're not ready to start your own blog, you may consider writing and contributing guest posts and articles to blogs and websites in your area of expertise or interest. You can identify potential websites and blogs with a simple Google search, as well as by checking out Alltop, a magazine rack for top blogs by category. When you contribute articles or posts, make sure to include your personal brand and links, if appropriate, in your bio line at the beginning or end, to tie your content directly to your brand.
- If you make comments on articles, blog posts or forums online, include your personal brand and link in the signature under your comment.
- Whenever appropriate in your networking efforts and interviews, make sure to tell others about your personal brand. Hearing your personal brand in-person or on the phone is much more powerful and impressive than reading it, so make sure your contacts and interviewers hear your personal brand. In interviews, your personal brand and pitch come in handy when you are asked the "Why should we pick you?" questions.
- While traditional business cards are becoming increasingly obsolete, they can still be a great way to brand yourself to others when on-the-go and meeting career stakeholders in-person.
- Whether or not you use Gmail, create a Google account and Google+ profile for improved search engine optimization. Make sure you include your personal brand in your headline, and your personal brand and personal branding statement or pitch in your profile's summary section.
- Twitter can be a powerful job search tool if leveraged correctly. If you do use Twitter, make sure to plug your personal brand and/or pitch in the short bio section on your Twitter page. Also ensure your Twitter profile image, background image and most importantly your tweets support your personal brand.
- About.me is a simple yet effective alternative to a personal webpage if you're not ready to create one. You can brand it in a number of ways, as well as link to all of your other profiles, blogs, etc.
- DoYouBuzz is a free resume profile with a tool that allows you to display your resume content online in a visually appealing and organized format. Once created, your profile is also well-ranked within Google search results for optimal visibility. Be sure to include your personal brand throughout as appropriate.
- Vizify is another useful resume and personal website tool that allows you to create an impressive bio and visual representation of your experience and expertise powered by your own data and information. Similarly, you can brand it in a number of ways as well as link to your other profiles, blogs, etc.
These are just some of the places you can plug your personal brand and pitch to help you get started or optimize your branding efforts. If you are a member of other networks, job sites, online or offline groups, don't hesitate to plug your personal brand there, too.
Last, remember that coordinating colors, profile photos, images, tone, wording and other similar components across the channels listed above helps to increase consistency and memorability, and optimize your brand-building efforts.