My friends often ask me how I, a twenty-four year old undergraduate student, stay so active in the job market. I have found that anyone can type a list of past work experiences and provide a list of references. The real question is what are you selling to job recruiters? In today’s job market, it is important to learn how to brand yourself. Most people see the word brand and think of companies and famous celebrities. They are not the only ones that need to brand themselves. To set yourself apart from the average resume and cover letter, you must find your niche and transform it into an entity. Below are five steps on how to transform you into a brand.
Decide what you want to represent.
The biggest issue that recruiters have with finding talent is that the job seeker has not clearly defined what they bring to the table. Hiring managers get lost in the long list of skills. Imagine you are in a networking event with a room full of top executives—in 10 words, what would you tell them that you can provide for their organization? Think about what it is you want to accomplish in the immediate future. If you want to be a software developer, be the expert on the latest technology and applications so that the conversation is effortless when you are networking.
Creating a presence among your peers.
Now that you know what you represent and you are an expert in your field, you must create a space for yourself within your industry. Yes, I said, “create a space.” Most people will tell you to sit back and wait for an opportunity to arise, but waiting is for those that don’t know how to create a window. You will need to start by networking with in your industry. The cheapest form of publicity is word of mouth. Get your name to the right people at the right time by telling them, “Hi, my name is Kelly and I am a software developer.” Create your conversation from there. This could be the difference between a job offer and a new unfilled job listing.
Develop your brand.
Once you have created a presence amongst your peers, you are ready to develop your presence amongst your competition. This is when you stop talking about what you can do and produce a portfolio to showcase your abilities. Creating a brand doesn’t begin with business cards; it begins with the work and the marketing comes after.
Marketing yourself is the easiest part of the branding process. Make a resume that stands out from your competition. Add a personal logo or a splash of a color. Find a creative friend (if you’re not to the task) to create you a one-of-a-kind resume. Establish your social media presence that places you in a positive light and showcases your brand. Have professional pictures taken that allows you to have a sleek and refined appearance online.
My last tip is to be creative and be true to you. When you create your own brand, you want to find creative ways to stay relevant in your industry. Do some charity work with your dream company. Maintain an active relationship with the friends in your network. Lastly, continue to think of creative ways to refine and redefine your personal brand.
These tips are just the start of the world of personal branding and they are great ways to make you stand out. Know this as well; if there is no window or door for you to walk through in your career, you will always have the ability to create one. What are some other ways you can think of to brand yourself in today’s society?
Credits: Scott Kellum