Brand Yourself and Employers Will Seek You Out
Every person alive has a unique personal brand. It is when you know your unique selling point that you can effectively brand yourself and thereafter have employers seek you out.
Branding yourself is not about empty hype; it is not about lying about who you are or trying to ape someone else. Branding yourself involves three easy steps:
1: Knowing your unique selling point
2: Packaging your brand
3: Positioning yourself to the right audience
How does each of these steps work?
1: KNOWING YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT
The only person who can realistically assess your strengths and weaknesses is only yourself. What do you like doing and what are you skilled in? Out of those skills, what are employers willing to buy? Is it cooking skills? Writing skills? Accounting skills? Is it your extensive contacts in a certain industry? Is it project management?
People you trust and your mentors can give you honest feedback about your abilities (and more importantly your weakness). We recommend that you work on perfecting your strengths instead of wasting time trying to master something that you are not gifted in. For example, if you are weak in number work, it is a frustrating waste of time trying to learn the latest accounting methods. If you can survive in your job by knowing the basic of spreadsheets, invest your time and effort in improving who you are. Eagles will never be doves and chicken will never be ducks.
2: PACKAGING YOUR BRAND
Online: Once you know what you are good at and what employers are willing to buy from you, go ahead and create a presence that reflects this brand. Secure an online presence in sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook page, Twitter account and Google+ account. It is not enough to create an online presence if you do not update the accounts on a regular basis. Upload relevant content. Blogs give you more space and leeway to showcase your talent and knowledge.
For example, a project management professional can design a blog where they upload their observations of their specific field. Here they can give useful tips to others in the industry.
Do not become a full time blogger – an update every fortnight or with useful articles or reviews will do. Invite feedback from people that you trust and those who are experts in that field.
Offline: Life does not start and end with the internet. You have to also circulate among people as a strategy to build your personal brand. This is not as difficult as it seems. Just think; when is the last time you participated in a charity event? When is the last time you volunteered as a panelist? Or to mentor some young people? Or to teach a free class in the community? All these are excellent opportunities to promote the visibility of your personal brand. Remember that job recruiters are real people who also attend some of these events. Create business cards that are professional and give the right image of your brand.
3: POSITIONING YOURSELF TO THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
If you brand yourself and do not target the right audience, you are wasting time. What is the purpose of branding yourself as a media professional if the decision makers in your field never get to hear of you?
The first thing in positioning yourself as a professional is to know what employers are looking for your kind of skills and then target them with your personal brand.
It is not rocket science to know that prospective employers will Google your name as soon as they think of contacting you for an interview. Many employers are cautious about the people associated with their organizations. At the back of your mind you should know that anything you post on the internet will be viewed for many years to come. Isn’t it a good idea to think twice before posting those private pictures on social media?
Be original and be yourself as you brand yourself. Employers want to hire authentic people who can add value to their organizations. They are not interested in copy cats.
To emphasize your originality asa brand, create the following professional documents:
A CV and Resume: The Resume is the summary of your competencies skills and contacts while the CV is a more detailed. Set apart one afternoon every month where you update your CV including any promotions, special projects undertaken and volunteer details.
Portfolio: A portfolio is a useful tool to show prospective employers what you have done in the past. This could be a CD, DVD or a print portfolio such as those used for graphic designers. The best thing with a portfolio is that it is something tangible that people cannot argue with- no one argue with results. You can also use the internet (such as Figdig.com and carbonmade.com) to showcase your creative skills.
Blog/website: You need to own yourname.com or a website that aligns with your name in some fashion. Depending on who you are, how much time you have on your hands and if you can accept criticism, you should either start a blog or stick with a static homepage. Those who blog will have a stronger asset than those who don’t because blogs rank higher in search engines and lend more to your expertise and interest areas over time.
Publish: Writing is one way to establish a strong reputation for your personal brand. You can write a book, a blog or even an e-book. This is one way to show what you are strong and also to appeal to the tight target market.
Effective personal brand can go a long way in promoting your reputation and your career interests. Remember that this is an ongoing exercise and not a once off. Follow this strategic plan to build your personal brand and see your career soar to new heights.