Personal branding is the most important stage of the job search process as it is the first and foundation stage. I have asked fellow job seekers and career-search experts from across the web for what they consider to be some top tips for standing out in today’s job market. While I could not include every tip from all of the experts, I have selected and compiled the best and most unique ones in this list to share with you today.
- Do what employers do and “Google” your name. What comes up? You can’t control what Google indexes but you can update your various online personas to reflect your personal brand. For starters, make sure that you’ve created a Google Profile and list all of the links to your sites and pages that you want employers to find. Your Google Profile might not initially come up first in search engine rankings so add a link from your blog or twitter page back to your Google Profile. The more links that point to a web page, the better Google will think of it so point as many links as you can back to your own Google profile to move it up in search engine rankings. However the most important brand building exercise to perform is to make your personal brand shine similarly on all your public facing sites. You may want to remove that drunken party photo from your blog or Tweet more about topics that potential employers will appreciate. No matter what your brand or persona is online, make sure that they all reflect the true you. – Darwin Stephenson, InspirationDivine.com
- You must have your name as a URL: using a service such as aol, gmail, etc doesn’t send the message that you are unique or that you take yourself seriously. You must have (at least) a one-page website that includes a summary of your career experience (not a resume–note, please, there’s a rumor that bankers like to see that you’ve played team sports), a professional headshot, and links to sites you find interesting (fyi: the more diverse these are, the more well-rounded you will appear.) – Frances Cole Jones, FrancesColeJones.com
- Consider LinkedIn as a marketing (branding) opportunity, not a resume recap. State your personal brand clearly in your Summary section and include your brand statement right after your name: “John Jakes, Award winning, patent generating, product design leader,” or “Rita Ashley, Job Search Coaching for $100,000+ Job Seekers. My clients get hired.” – Rita Ashley, JobSearchDebugged.com
- Utilize a professional headshot as the main photo on all your online profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Two weeks before a conference, I looked up other professionals attending and added them as friends on Facebook and/or followed them on Twitter. I was an unknown heading into the conference, not knowing a single person, and had over 20 people recognize me from my profile photo and introduce themselves. I left the conference with over 100 new contacts and several lucrative opportunities. – Jenny Leonard, Razviti.com
- Nothing sells like experience – even when your resume says you don’t have any. Creating experience(s) through unpaid internships have helped many future stars get a foot in the door – in an economic climate that is tougher and tougher to differentiate yourself. By demonstrating savvy, business acumen, innovative initiative and then top it off by being willing to work virtually, and creatively document your experience to expose your own personal experience as well as promote the company you are working for is yet another ‘on-brand you’. Create the brand by building and creating the experiences your want to represent you. – Gilbert Melott, NextVoice247.com
- In today’s world, everyone is “branding” themselves. Whether it be with tag lines, portfolios, a viral approach, etc… We are all looking for the unique twist that will get us hired. In addition to sharing strengths and relevant examples, it is critical that an applicant express that they actually “like” to do these tasks. So often we are so busy selling what we CAN do or what we HAVE done, that we do not let people know that we ENJOY doing the work. If you want to stand out, adding this element to your “pitch” will set you apart from the rest. As an hiring manager, I would prefer to hire someone who not only can do the work but will be happy doing it. Sharing a simple fact such as this will make all the difference. – Susan Newman, School2Life.com
- Make a version of your resume with a 2.5 -inch left margin and very little right margin. In the left margin space, hand write a quick note to the employer. No one gets handwritten notes anymore, and you’ll stand out. It’ll also keep you from having to write a cover letter – a big time saver. Also, try sending your resume old school – through the US Mail. A resume will be seen a whole lot longer on somebody’s desk than it will their inbox. – Tammy Kabell, BeyondJobSearching.com
Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this wealth of personal branding insight!
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