In a job search, one of the most important things is helping yourself stand out by demonstrating the positive and unique qualities you possess as a candidate. The term most commonly used for this is “branding yourself” as a candidate. You can take a look at our previous article on this topic for more of an introduction to the basics of the concept, but today we’re going to take a look at a few various methods of personal branding you can try.
One common piece of advice is that you should have a “branding statement” about yourself ready to go, and that this statement should be concise, concrete, and unique. This statement is more than just your job title. It’s about one sentence that explains what you actually do. So, for example:
“I work with diverse groups of students and help them succeed in school.”
“I help people who want to sell their small businesses find buyers.”
“I help restaurants create new menus based around seasonal, local ingredients.”
Brandyourself.com has a good article about personal branding and personal branding statements that includes several good examples of personal branding statements. Their article also makes the very good point that your personal branding statement should be included prominently in your LinkedIn profile (You do have a LinkedIn profile set up, right? It’s an important part of job searching these days, which we’ll go over in more detail in another article).
And LinkedIn is only part of the online aspect of your personal branding. Most employers will Google job candidates, so you want to make sure your online presence is in line with your personal brand.
Start by Googling yourself to see what comes up. You may be surprised how much information is readily available to potential employers (or anyone else). Getting your social media house in order involves taking down or making private anything that might be a potential red flag to an employer, but it also means trying to add a lot of positive content about yourself for potential employers to find when they Google you.
There are several things you can do to positively boost your online presence. We already mentioned you want to have a strong and complete LinkedIn profile that includes your personal brand statement prominently featured. But there’s more to do beyond that.
Having your own professional website or a professional blog where you post about things related to your professional life can boost your online presence positively and help you define and communicate your personal brand.
Depending on your field, a professional Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media account where you showcase the results of your work might make sense. This wouldn’t be limited to visual arts. If you are an event planner, maybe you can use photos from events you’ve planned. If you helped organize the opening of a new store for your company, maybe a photo from the opening day of that store. Get creative, and you might find some interesting ways to visually showcase the results of your work.
It also might make sense for you to come up with a logo you use consistently across your different online platforms in order to help link them together. But even if a logo doesn’t make sense for your field, there may be things you can do to create visual linkages between your different online content. For example, maybe using a distinctive font or using the same photo of yourself across different platforms.
On the topic of photos of yourself, some personal branding experts recommend that you have a good portrait taken of yourself and use this photo as part of your personal branding strategy. Like a lot of things related to personal branding, this may vary by field. But most people remember faces, so consider if this is something you might be able to use in crafting your online presence.
As many parts of the internet are focusing more and more on video content, you may want to consider making a video to post online to help promote your personal brand. This might be a sort of video portfolio, where you showcase your work. Or, another way to approach it might be to have a friend or colleague interview you about topics related to your work. If you have a video of you giving a presentation relevant to your work, maybe consider posting that video (If you don’t have a video like this, maybe consider trying to set up an opportunity for you to give such a presentation and video record it.) It can be difficult to make a good professional quality video by delivering a monologue about yourself directly into the camera, but if you have the skills to pull this off successfully, maybe that’s the way to go for you. Whatever option you choose will help define your personal brand, so think and choose carefully. But video can be a powerful tool to let a potential employer know more about you.
Theses are just a few of the ways you can develop and showcase your personal brand. We hope they’re helpful for you, and we wish you the best in your job search.