Building your personal brand when job seeking
BUILDING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Stephanie Burak Fehlenberg
Social media personal profiles have gotten a bad wrap when it comes to job seeking. You’ve probably heard stories of the highly qualified job applicant, who wasn’t hired because of controversial photos or statements found online. So then why write about using social media to help you land a job? Well, the good news is that if used properly, social media can be a major asset in your job hunt, because it can help you build and reinforce your personal brand.
Have you defined your personal brand?
If you haven’t already done so, define your personal brand. Simply write down your business and personal values, and then select 3-5 core values to serve as the foundation of your personal brand. If you are having a tough time narrowing down your core values, consider your preferred line of work, and choose values based on what the market is thirsting for. For example, if you are in customer service, you may remember the backlash against call center representatives who would literally read from scripts because the experience felt impersonal, disrespectful of one’s time, unskilled, unhelpful, and a lot more “un” words. In an effort to stand out, you may want to emphasize your courteous, flexible, adaptable nature, and your desire to go above and beyond customer expectation. (For more advice on developing your personal brand, read the post, Let’s get personal about Branding.)
What does your personal brand look like?
Once you’ve identified your personal brand (i.e. your core values), figure out, what does that look like? What does it sound like? What actions and words would communicate that brand to others? What would communicate the opposite? (Knowing this is crucial, so you don’t inadvertently sabotage your hard work.) Now you’re ready to get social.
Get social with LinkedIn
The most important social media channel for the job seeker, hands-down, is LinkedIn. If you do not have a profile set up on LinkedIn, make that the first thing you do when you finish reading this blog post. Not only can you connect with other professionals in yours or related fields, but you can learn about the employees and executives at the companies you want to work for. Likewise, if you make your profile public (which I highly suggest), then they can find out more about you and get a sense of your personal brand. LinkedIn can do so much for the job seeker… but I won’t delve much deeper since LinkedIn really needs a whole blog post for itself.
Liken your LinkedIn profile to a resume and treat it similarly: make sure it is up-to-date and focused on the field in which you want to get a job. It’s not essential to list every job you’ve ever had… it’s better to focus on the positions and responsibilities that are relevant to the field, and even better yet, to the individual job descriptions you are looking at. Most importantly, let your personal brand shine through.
If creativity is part of your personal brand, be sure to link to some of the creative projects you have done in the past. If collaboration is one of your skills and values, ask for testimonials from people who have experienced your collaborative skills. Don’t be shy! Most people are more than happy to write recommendations for employees and colleagues they have enjoyed working with. And whenever possible, ask for recommendations from well-connected people who have impressive LinkedIn profiles.
There is so much more you can do with LinkedIn, but I will leave you with one final tip: Connect with people from your companies of interest. Join groups where they have a presence and be sure to ask questions, answer questions, post relevant articles, and comment on posts; show that you are passionate about what you do and are active in your field. This way, when a job opens up in one of those companies, your name and personal brand will already be familiar, and if it’s not, it wouldn’t take much for the employer to find your LinkedIn contributions.
Remember when you visualized what your personal brand looks like? Start to paint that picture using the tools and features available to you.
Find out how Facebook and other social networks can also help you build up your personal brand in the upcoming article, Want to Build Your Personal Brand? Part 2: Social Media to the Rescue!
Stephanie Burak Fehlenberg loves to pursue exciting opportunities, and is always involved in a number of projects. Currently, she is the instructional designer at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, USA—the first American community college and a leader in the industry—where she instructs faculty on how to teach using technology (including social media) and other tools for increased student engagement and success. She also manages Wildfire Web Design and Marketing, a startup company that helps “businesses and their web presence spread like Wildfire” using channels such as social media. Throughout her career, Fehlenberg has worked in a number of industries as a marketer, educator and/or consultant, including the fields of fine art, museums, web development, and non-profits. To contact Stephanie Burak Fehlenberg, email Stephanie@WildfireWebMarketing.com