Maybe you’re familiar with the term brand as it relates to your cereal or your cell phone. We all have brands that we like or we are loyal too. Most of us understand that companies spend money to “brand” a particular item. Who among us doesn’t at least know what Coke is?
But today, there’s a lot of talk about personal branding. And if you’ve never spent any time promoting yourself, you may be loathe to learn how. Self promotion is tough for many people. So where do you start?
First, it’s time to make a list of all the things you are good at. Don’t hold back. List everything you can think of. Not only will you start to identify understand your strengths; it’s also a great self-esteem builder. Used to gather information and build confidence, this technique is borrowed from many resume writers and career coaches.
Second, tell your story. More and more professionals are turning away from resumes with bullet points and one word descriptions.
Instead they are encouraging their clients to tell their own story. Most of us don’t mind reading a great story. Everyone has one. So why not tell yours? Building your brand is about developing your story around your accomplishments.
For example, instead of writing “excellent communication skills,” on your resume, tell the reader a story about how you accomplished a goal by using your communication skills. And your story doesn’t have to be several paragraphs. You can get the job done in just a few words. Here are a few examples:
- Developed custom sales presentations for cereal mix, resulting in increased profit margins by 25%.
- Created internal marketing plan to increase favorable perception of the client. Subsequent surveys were given to all internal staff; resulting in multiple work place awards for the client.
- Developed cellphone product social media campaign for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn without paid advertising components resulting in an increase of brand awareness by 33%.
The aforementioned examples illustrate your accomplishments. Use this content to create a resume that shows the reader what you’ve accomplished. Don’t tell. Show.
Third, your image is everything. 56% of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool according to Forbes. If you don’t have a website, get one. Here is a list of companies that provide free websites:
Find your image. Recruiters and hiring managers will almost certainly check you out online. Your social media channels must be professional. You probably already know that you need to keep all your social media free from vulgarity, political attacks and questionable content. Consider hiring a photographer to capture your professional likeness or grab a friend to get the job done. Research image guidelines for more information.
It’s also very important that you post regularly on all your channels. Nothing looks worse than a neglected social media profile. You are essentially telling the world that you are too lazy too post content and too apathetic to remove your site.
So what if you don’t have any content to add to your website? Again, here’s where you go back to your list of everything you’ve accomplished. Make sure you include any volunteer work you have done.
Did you know that that Deloitte conducted a survey, which found that 85% of hiring managers are willing to overlook resume pitfalls when an employee includes volunteering on a resume? So if you don’t volunteer, start.
Your website should be a space to showcase your projects. What if you don’t have any projects? Get creative. Many college graduates use projects from their senior year or their internships. Other professionals include their personal blogs or research papers. Again, you are trying to illustrate that you possess a certain skill set. You can do that by showcasing a variety of content.
Let’s face it. There a hundreds, if not thousands of people who do what you do. The key to standing out is to let your personality shine. The best way to show people who you are is by creating a visually appealing and creative representation of your point of view, as well as your accomplishments. This includes your resume, website and social media channels. You are the master of your own brand. Build it.