You feel anonymous and adrift in a giant sea of applicants, and you know that you’re getting passed up for jobs that are just right for you. What’s a savvy job seeker to do? Dan Schwabel, author of Me 2.0, defines personal branding as, “how we market ourselves to others.” Creating a personal brand is a wonderful way to show potential employers, and professional peers, who you are and what you’re about. As well as why they should hire you.
Begin by asking yourself a few questions. Despite the snarky title of this post, creating a personal brand does begin by deciding what kind of basic impression you want to present to potential employers: what flavor, or color, you want to project. What aspect of your professional life is indispensable? If you didn’t have to work for money, what would you still do just because you love it? For example, I had about six secondary majors and minors during college, but the one thing I never considered switching out of was English. Editing and writing is the foundation of my personal brand. What’s yours?
Once you have decided what your personal brand should focus on, for example your career as a deep sea archaeologist, it’s time to go about creating materials that support that brand. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, personal blogs, and YouTube are all great ways to market yourself in the 21st century. On top of that, creating a video resume where you can actually explain to an employer why you have a passion for this particular work is the easiest way to get that message across. More traditional materials might include cover letters, resumes, and business cards. All of these things should be consistent with the way you want to market yourself. Although you may want to fill your personal blog with cupcake recipes and pictures of your cat, as a deep sea archaeologist you’ll do much better to stick with photos and stories about underwater adventures- with possibly a few digressions to rave about sea salt caramels.
Upon the creation of these materials, it is then your job to make yourself visible. The easiest way to do this is by starting a conversation with your peers. Follow other deep sea archaeologists on Twitter- and it’s not really enough to follow them, is it? Converse with them, comment on their blogs, friend them on Facebook (as appropriate). Offer to do a guest post on someone else’s blog, send postcards from your tropical expedition locales, even host a lecturer in your field if they are passing through town for a conference.
The sky— err, the sea— is the limit when it comes to personal branding. It’s about being as thorough as possible. Good luck. Happy branding!
Who do you know that does a great job of personal branding? What tools do you use to market yourself to others? Let us know in the comments or tweet me: @ithinkther4iamb