Last summer, Geoffrey Owens, once a regular on the legendary Cosby Show, was seen working a — *gulp* — regular job at Trader Joe’s. The press quickly ran with the story, and people around the world began making negative comments about Owens’s situation. Owens ended up quitting his job because of all the unwanted attention.
However, there was a silver lining in all of this: Tyler Perry invited Owens to join the cast of his show, The Haves and the Have Nots.
Think about this: Press coverage put Owens’s name out there, and while there was a little turbulence at first, that coverage also led to a new job for Owens.
There’s a lesson here for every job seeker. Today’s job search is all about making yourself seen. If employers know who you are and what you can do, they’ll turn to you when they need someone with your skills.
So few job seekers use all the tools available at their fingertips to stand out. While different searches will require different strategies, there are a few easy steps almost anyone can take to maximize their visibility:
1. Showcase Your Personality on Social Media
As I always say, employers can’t train great personalities — they have to hire them. Why not spice up your public social media profile pages with exciting cover art and other details that showcase who you are as a person? Instead of coming across as a generic job seeker, personalize your profile and give people a reason to stay on your page a little longer. Tell a story about yourself — a sincere, personal story. Help employers see you as more than just another candidate.
2. Create a Facebook or Instagram Business Page for Your Job Search
Employers want to see your personal Facebook page because it tells them a lot about who you are, but your privacy settings say, “No way!”
No problem: You can create a public business page for yourself instead. This can be dedicated to your professional journey while keeping your personal page personal. Use your business page to share your professional musings and post content that delivers value to your readers and potential employers.
You can also use your business pages to run ads to better target employers on these platforms. Master entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk swears by Instagram ads for brands. Why shouldn’t you try a similar strategy to increase your own visibility?
3. Start a Blog
While a social media page can be a good supplement, your professional presence should really have its own headquarters on the web. A blog hosted on WordPress or a similar service is a great way to do this.
With your own dedicated site, you can control the positive professional narrative about your abilities, explore ideas, take your readers on your journey, and tell great stories about your achievements. At a basic level, a WordPress site costs less than $50 a year to maintain. That’s a small price to pay for a robust, multimedia professional portfolio.
4. Host a Local Radio Show
Does your community have a local radio station? Ask if you can host a weekly show.
Many cities have local stations that encourage community members to participate in content creation. Go ahead and get involved! You can use your show to interview employers and entrepreneurs, chat with industry experts, and answer questions from listeners. Not only will you create a valuable resource for your community, but you’ll also build a powerful channel for reaching potential employers.
Charity work is a great way to hone specific skills that can help you land your next job, even if you’re currently employed. If you’re not employed, it’s also a great way to gain additional experience and fill the gaps in your resume.
Additionally, Antonio Boyd, CEO and president of The Think Tank Consulting Group, once told me that volunteering also enhances your understanding of people. This boosts your soft skills and makes you a better team player.
Finally, volunteering can also connect you with organizations you want to work for. By working with a nonprofit, you can meet local employers who support that nonprofit’s mission. These connections can be leveraged into job opportunities once you’ve demonstrated your value through your volunteer work.
When you’re building a stand-out brand, use these strategies plus any others that can help you broadcast your value effectively. Whatever tactics you choose, be sure they truly assist your job search and capture the attention of the right audience.
Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and the founder of the blog by the same name.