Looking for a job can be extremely stressful. How do you stand apart from the crowd? There’s only so much they can tell about you from your resume.
When it comes to job search, people often underestimate the power of personal branding. Personal branding allows you to put yourself in front of a wide range of potential employers, grow your professional network, and build a favorable image of yourself.
Here are seven ways you can build a personal brand to land your dream job.
It goes without saying that you need to be active on social media platforms. They give you a medium to share your thoughts and ideas, build your personal brand, and enable employers to get a more holistic view about you. This allows you to create a favorable impression on potential employers, even before the recruitment process has begun. It also enables you to salvage your job application, in case the interview doesn’t work out.
It’s equally important to maintain consistency when you’re promoting your personal brand on social media. Having a professional image on LinkedIn and a party-animal image on Facebook can create a negative impression. Try to align your social media activities on every social media channel so they give a coherent image about you to everyone.
Don’t make yourself look over-polished, else it will seem fake. Also, avoid being too professional, else you won’t stand apart from the crowd. There are tons of people using the Internet to build their brand and get a job. So you need to have a unique identity to attract potential employers.
Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Show it off! Do you like mountain biking? Don’t hide it. Be yourself, as long as you don’t post anything that makes you look incompetent or unprofessional.
Every time you do something that’s professionally relevant, use social media to promote it. Your personal brand is like your resume and you need to let your potential employers know that you can work hard and achieve great things.
Whenever you get a recognition, take some time to post updates about it on your social media profiles. Add a milestone on Facebook, include a few lines in your LinkedIn profile and Tweet about it. Did you bag a summer internship? Did you organise a blood donation camp? Did you land a huge sale at work? Take a few pics and post them as a series of updates, describing what you did to achieve it, how you feel about it, and what you learnt from the experience.
It may seem counter-intuitive but you need to frequently post updates to your social media profiles to show that you’re spending your time productively. Unless you tell people what you’re up to, they won’t know. Also, if people don’t hear from you for a long time, you’ll soon cease to be relevant to them. Eventually, they’ll stop engaging with your updates and it will be difficult to grow your audience.
While it’s enough to post one update everyday on Facebook & LinkedIn, you need to tweet at least three to five times a day. If you don’t have anything specific to post about, then share what’s on your mind - did you read a great book? Or discover a new restaurant?
One of the most effective ways to build your personal brand is to participate in online discussions.
You can join general Q&A forums like Quora and Reddit, and search for discussions that pique your interest. You can also look for industry specific forums that only talk about your specific field. For example, HackerNews is mostly about technology and startups whereas Inbound.org is all about marketing. These forums have a points system that rewards you for your contribution to the community. So the more points you get, the better your online reputation is.
You can also search for LinkedIn and Facebook groups that are relevant to you, and look for opportunities to engage with experienced professionals.
Begin by simply asking questions about your field, and thanking others for their answers. As you become familiar with the group, you can start answering questions, and posting comments and opinions yourself.
This will give you a great opportunity to show your expertise and gain credibility. Be genuine and helpful and you’ll quickly become a prominent member of their community. Avoid showing off, or talking down to others.
As you become a reputable member of your groups, you can start reaching out to other professionals that you’ve engaged with in a discussion.
Connect online to as many professionals as you can. Ensure that you formally introduce yourself while doing so. Most of them will accept your invitation, and this will grow your network.
This means you will be able to reach a wider pool of potential employers, when you’re looking for a job. As you expand your network, every new connection will look at your following and perceive you as an influential person.
If you’re looking for a job, post about it. Update your social profile status accordingly.
This will help you quickly spread the message to your contacts, and then they’ll start looking for possible connections in their network, who might be looking for a candidate like you.
However, be careful how you phrase your job search. Posting messages like ‘Got fired! Need a Job’ will make you look unprofessional and get you nowhere. Instead, use refined language like ‘Looking for new opportunities’.
The key is to position yourself as an interesting candidate with the right set of skills, visible to a wide range of potential employers. If you’re in college, you should start building your brand at least one to two months before you begin your job search. If you’re already working, then spend 10 to 15 minutes a day building your brand. Soon, you’ll see how it can do wonders for your career.
Sreeram Sreenivasan is the Founder of Ubiq BI and Fedingo. For more than 8 years, he has helped various Fortune 500 Companies in areas of Business Intelligence, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He is passionate about Entrepreneurship and business growth
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