Personal branding is not just for celebrities and public figures anymore. Everyone has a personal brand and you could potentially use yours to land your dream job this year.
If you don’t know how much your personal brand influences your ability to get a job, then read the first part of this article: These 3 Personal Branding Mistakes Could Be Standing Between You and Your Dream Job.
Now that you’re all caught up. Let’s talk about how you can use those factors to your advantage.
Strategy #1: Control Your Digital Identity
Some of your fellow applicants are currently shutting down all of their social profiles and erasing any mention of themselves online. As we learned in part one of this article, deleting your entire digital presence could be interpreted by the employer as you having something to hide.
How can you use your personal brand as a tool to gain an advantage in the hiring process without having to sign up for 5 social media platforms? Invest in a professional website for your personal brand. Your new online home doesn’t have to be fancy to get the job done. You don’t have to blog or update it daily. As long as the information is correct, it’s presence online is always working in your favor by acting as a home base, introducing you to others while you’re not around.
There are plenty of DIY platforms you can use to create and manage on your own simple site for only $10-$20 per month (see mine). Don’t have the time to set up a professional presence? There are also companies who will build and manage any part (or all) of your online brand for you. Besides popular belief, you don’t have to be a celebrity to afford this VIP treatment.
By having your own website you are now able to take back full control over your digital identity. Employers will be less likely to make a mistake when they search for you because you’ll put the address to your personal website on your business card, on all of your social media profiles and have it listed on your resume.
In addition to helping everyone find you more easily, you can also use your site to tell your story and list your skills or accomplishments. Remember, you are in control of your brand now. Show everyone who stops by your page who you really are and why you are so valuable to any company who decides to invest in working with you.
Strategy #2: Live Your Brand, Your Personality
While some applicants might publicly brag about taking illegal drugs (yes, people really do this), you will use social media to display your passion for legal activities. Be open about your favorite activities, foods, movies, or anything you are passion about.
For example, I’m a huge hockey fan. You’ll see me mention the sport from time to time on some of my public profiles. If I were looking for a job, I definitely wouldn’t stop talking about how much I enjoy watching the Los Angeles Kings win (and seeing the Anaheim Ducks lose). Although hockey has little to do with entrepreneurship and business strategy, it is still a part of who I am. My personal brand is who I am. Your personal brand is who you are.
Be yourself and those who align with you will connect. Maybe being open about the fact that you love to play guitar and video games, for example, will help you connect with someone who can refer you to a new opportunity some day. When you first connect with someone, it doesn’t necessarily have to be on a professional level. Either way, you are immediately a more attractive candidate to a potential employer when they see you are actively being yourself. Anything you are passionate about is an important part of what makes you who you are and that is all part of your personal brand.
While displaying a party animal lifestyle might lower your odds of getting hired at many companies, becoming a robot on social media can also hurt your chances. If the job you are hoping to get is in accounting, I guarantee none of your potential employers expect you to post about numbers all day, every day. They know that all of your friends might not love numbers as much as you. Employers also realize it’s healthy to have friends, especially since they will expect you to get along with your future co-workers.
Increase your chances at getting hired by being yourself, by being your personal brand.
Strategy #3: Grow Your Brand By Growing Yourself
Believe it or not, many people have made some of their closest friends after first meeting on a social media platform. You don’t have to attend a conference and talk to strangers to connect yourself within an industry anymore.
As mentioned earlier, it is helpful to be yourself. If there is a job you want in the future in a specific field then start using social media to interact with people who are in that field or have a passion for it like you do.
In addition to giving you an edge on a job hunt in that industry, learning from those who are already doing what you want to do some day will help you grow as person and as a professional. Remember that when you grow, so does your personal brand.
Now when someone comes across any of your social profiles and they notice you are communicating with those who are in the field you are applying to work in, don’t you think that will help your chances of getting hired? You’ll look like a much more suitable candidate than someone who is either dormant online or lacks the presence of relevant content (or connections) related to your desired field.
Your New Advantage — Personal Brand Awareness
Keep in mind that each company has different policies when researching potential hires so do your research before coming up with your own strategy.
The best question to ask yourself when reviewing your chances of getting that new job or promotion — From what you see from yourself online, would you hire (or promote) you? By becoming more self-aware, you can make the additions or changes necessary to more effectively guide your personal brand in the direction you want to go.
Remember that when you grow both personally and professionally, so does your personal brand.