First of all, career branding is not the same as personal branding. Personal branding is everywhere, and people are starting to develop their personal brands with earnest. But what about career branding? What’s the difference between the two? It’s really quite simple. Personal branding is all about you, what you do, and the type of person you are and portray. A career brand is part of your personal brand, focused on highlighting your current and past professional accomplishments.
Finding a job in this market is harder than it ever has been. Gone are the days of merely looking for jobs on boards. Job searching has evolved into a two-way stream of conversations, connections, and ideas with individuals from around the world.
To pass the competition, you must impress employers with your online presence, your résumé, and in person. To do this, you need to present the unique value you bring to the table. Think of it like this: You are the “product,” and your potential employer is the “target audience.” Your message must compel the target audience to purchase the product. A successful career brand does just that.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Make Your Brand Sizzle
Determine what special “features” you have to offer that your competitors don’t. This could be any and all of your skills, work experience, and even volunteer experience—it’s all valuable. As a leader in your industry, you have a unique blend of qualifications, talents, expertise, and accomplishments to offer a potential employer.
Use the Right Mediums
Showcase these strong points where recruiters and hiring managers can see—LinkedIn, and increasingly Facebook and Twitter, are great networks for this. Engage in discussions with employers—start by asking questions. Your involvement shows initiative and won’t be overlooked.
You Are What Others See
Make yourself readily visible. Be sure to create online profiles with relevant professional information public so it can be seen. By providing your prospective employer with a clear idea of your distinct value and why you would be the ideal candidate, you can ensure that your résumé jumps to the top of the pile.
A solid career brand is strong, accurate, and creates awareness about what you bring to the table. The key is discovering, evaluating, and monitoring your career brand. You then must actively and continuously strive to make it stronger and better as you gain new skills and experience.
What are you doing to improve your career brand?
Greg Coyle is the co-founder and Director of Product Development at MyWebCareer. For the past year, Greg and his co-founders at MyWebCareer have been working on developing online tools for career professionals that enable you to discover, evaluate, and monitor your professional online brand. You can visit the beta at www.mywebcareer.com and get your free, personalized Career Score.
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