Monday, January 14, 2013

Job Hunting 101: How to Develop a Personal Brand

Photo Credit
I recently started a new job, and on the first day my boss told me that what separated me from all the other interview candidates and ultimately won me the position was my online brand. 

Whether you’re on the job-hunt, launching your own business or looking to establish yourself online, it’s important to invest some time and thought into the business of you. By effectively developing and marketing your online reputation you’ll be in a better position to target your personal and professional goals. 

Get Recognized and Be Consistent 

Determining who you are and what you do is the first step in creating your personal brand and an online marketing strategy for yourself. Think about your strengths, skills, experience and interests, and ask yourself what you can bring to the table that will set you apart from the competition. Do you have a knack for graphic design, or are you a makeup artist experienced in bridal looks? When you know your strengths and passions you can highlight them by creating a personal brand that’s consistent with your objectives. Whether your audience is hiring managers, peers or potential clients they should be able to get an understanding of who you are, where you’ve been and what you can offer when they connect with you. 

Decide your core message and start building your profiles. It’s a good idea to use the same username across all platforms so you’ll be easy to find on every network. Using a site like Namecheck you can search to see if your name or chosen brand name is available across all major social networks and then claim them for your use. About.me is a great tool to build yourself a splash page that will lead your audience to all of your social pages and websites from one place. 

Google yourself and take note of what already exists about you online. Take the time to go through the privacy settings on your Facebook account and remove anything you wouldn’t want a potential boss to see. You’ll also need a headshot of yourself to use across all your channels. Make sure it’s simple, professional and easily recognizable so your peers can pin point you when you’re networking in real life!

Know Your Niche

Trying to be something or someone you’re not online won’t benefit you in the real world. Thus, it’s in your best interest to be honest and realistic with what you know and what you like rather than faking it in an attempt to win influence and recognition. Select your area of focus based on the industry you work in, your skills and experience and what you are passionate about. This will let your true self shine through online and get you connected with others who have similar interests.  

Share Who You Are

How will you communicate your personal brand to potential clients, peers and hiring managers? Knowing the right social platforms to use to get yourself heard will ensure you’ll stand out from the crowd. A photographer might want to promote themselves online with a digital portfolio or Flickr account, while a stylist might want to share outfit posts on a blog and connect with other fashion enthusiasts via Twitter. Make sure you are present in the channels that will connect you with your target audience. This is your opportunity to leave a memorable first impression and leave your audience curious to learn more about you. 

It may not happen over night, but thinking through your personal and professional goals and aspirations to put together your personal brand and marketing strategy will lead you on the path to a future of endless possibilities. 

How have you used your online brand for career success?

Daniela DiStefano is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @ddeestefano or check out her blog, Making it to the Masthead.



No comments:

Post a Comment