Throughout my career, hundreds of resumes have hit my desk with a familiar thud. But without clear branding or a defined skill set, each one is just a jumbled collection of keywords and outdated language.
I’m looking for candidates who not only have experience but also know how to present themselves professionally, and I’m not the only one. As a job seeker, it’s more important than ever to be intentional about creating your personal brand — not only in terms of what you think your brand stands for, but also in terms of how hiring managers and recruiters see it.
Developing and presenting your personal brand shows recruiters you’re serious about the job. And in a world where 71 percent of workers are currently “on the market,” you’re facing tough competition for the best positions. Personal branding is the key to standing out in the crowd.
What Your Brand Says About You
Whether you know it or not, you already have a personal brand.
It isn’t just a blurb on your resume describing your interests: it’s how you carry yourself, the steps you take in your career, your social media presence, and your online visibility. How you position yourself across all of these areas will either strengthen or weaken your personal brand.
In this respect, social media has leveled the playing field for job candidates. Now, you can take control of your brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field through consistent, relevant posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Then, you can link to your online presence on your resume.
Your social media presence will inevitably have an impact on your job search. A survey from ExecuNet revealed that 77 percent of recruiters use search engines to find background data on candidates. Despite this fact, I still see many candidates who simply fail to connect the dots between inappropriate social media posts and their inability to land a job.
Take Control of Your Personal Brand
In today’s market, the trick to landing your dream job lies in using your personal brand to identify and capitalize on your strengths. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Take a Look in the Mirror
A critical analysis of what you bring to the table will help you understand where you fit into a particular company. Once you determine what you have to offer, you’ll be able to present yourself in a way that showcases your strengths.
2. Talk to Past Employers
Ask your former bosses and managers what made you stand out on the job. Their feedback will help you get a better grasp on your value, and having external viewpoints to balance out your own opinions will provide a well-rounded picture.
3. Take a Personality Test
There are many personality tests that can help you define your personal brand. Tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator aren’t foolproof, but they can point you in the right direction.
4. Google Yourself
You need to look at your online presence from an outsider’s perspective. Google yourself to see what prospective employers may find, and always post, tweet, and share online content as if the hiring manager of your dream job were scrutinizing it.
5. Carefully Craft Your Resume
If you incorporate a personal statement into your resume, it should be placed front and center in your “professional summary” section. Then, you should build a strong “areas of expertise” section to complement your message.
As a job seeker, understanding your personal brand is the ultimate “aha” moment. Once you see how you’re projecting yourself, you can make changes to highlight your strengths. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates who have their act together with strategic career documentation and strong personal branding. It means less work for them and more potential for you, which is a win-win for everyone.