Ed knows how hard the job hunt can be these days, especially now when it seems like no one is hiring and everyone is keeping their staff tight. So it’s super important to find ways to set yourself apart from the competition and highlight what makes you special, be it through a blog or various social media accounts. Ed chatted with editors about the benefits of having a personal brand, and found out how a young professional like you can do it!
Spread yourself out, but not too thin.
Don’t limit yourself. You want to get your name out there in multiple places, so pick a few platforms and go for it. Obvious resources are Twitter, Tumblr, and a personal blog, which are convenient and easy ways for you to establish who you are and your areas of interest. But don’t forget about LinkedIn. “Don’t only use it to network with people, but join the right industry groups and make yourself active in them,” says Jan Melnik, a resume writer, job-search strategist, and career coach in Durham, CT. Take time to get used to the topics and tone of the group and then contribute. Share your thoughts and opinions on topics you are knowledgeable about and establish yourself as a source expert.
You might have heard this before, but you have to be able to put into words why you’d be the perfect person for the job—whether it’s your cover letter, resume, blog or Twitter. “Having a good personal brand means understanding — and being able to confidently convey — one’s unique value throughout the course of job search and interviewing,” says Melnik. “It’s being able to know and articulate, authentically, what serves to differentiate you from every other candidate.”
Don’t rush it.
Don’t feel like you have to have your brand — and your voice — 100 percent established by the time you’re out of college. “This is an emerging area, so I don’t yet think it’s a ‘must’ that everyone who is job searching has a well-established personal brand. That said, it can definitely help you stand out! But don’t worry if you’re not there yet,” says Alyssa Kolsky Hertzig, beauty director for Shape and author of The Sparkly Life, a beauty and fashion blog she runs on her own time. The important part is that you’re laying the foundation and getting started. Details of the brand and who you are as a person will come with time.
Pick the outlets that are right for you, and cover the things that you find truly interesting. “If you’re passionate about something, that’s going to shine through,” Hertzig says. “But if you’re being inauthentic or trying to sound like you’re someone you’re not when you’re online, people are going to pick up on this really fast. You want to sound responsible, mature, and really into your interest — whether that’s fashion, beauty, magazines, knitting or whatever.”
“It’s important to have an awareness of how you’re representing yourself and remember to be consistent, whether you work for an actual brand or are starting out,” says Eva Chen, beauty and health director at Teen Vogue, who updates her personal Tumblr several times a day and has over 36,000 Twitter followers. If you’re being true to who you are and not artificial, giving a consistent message should be easy.
Keep the basics professional, too.
This might seem obvious, but remember to make sure that your personal email, Twitter handle, and blog name are professional. “I once got a resume that came from the email address: rudegirl@…com. Let’s just say that was an easy no,” Hertzig says. On the same note, remember that everything you write stays in Google. More than likely, an employer is going to do an Internet search before they call you in for an interview, and you wouldn’t want that post you wrote on your blog about going out late on a workday to be the first thing they read.
Image by Flickr user whoaitsaimz.