When job seeking, it’s essential to take a few steps back from you, the person, to understand how to represent yourself as you, the brand (think of Madonna or Lady Gaga, only on a smaller scale and without clothing made out of food!)
A recent article in Forbes states that “How you manage your personal brand…will determine how others view you — and ultimately shape your career and your life.”
Marketing yourself is probably one of the hardest things you can do, but is the most important job you have. It doesn’t have to be a painful process. Treat yourself as you would any other brand that you have the ability to promote and market.
You have the advantage of knowing your strengths and fully understanding your experience. In essence, by being your own publicist, you can effectively market yourself to companies and hiring managers.
So how do you become your brand? Think of it as a multi-channel approach to marketing yourself…
• Elevator Pitch – Who are you? Describe your professional persona in a 30-second to 2-minute pitch to summarize your background, creative or marketing skills and what makes you unique. This isn’t easy to do, so Google peers or managers you admire, and see how they’re describing themselves. Or think of a chance meeting in an elevator with the CEO of a company you’d like to work (hence “elevator pitch”) and if he or she asked you what you do and who you are, and why they might want to hire you, what would you say? (and know that you only have less than 2 minutes!) You might want to try your pitch out on your CM Access recruiter.
• Social Media – If you’re not already using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, then do so immediately. Ping.fm is a simple and free tool that makes updating all your social networks easy.
• Blog – Use WordPress or Blogger to develop your own Blog. It’s a great way to establish your tone and reinforce your professional persona. Think of how you want to be perceived (and be sure to think it through from the perspective of future employers and peers.)
• Website – Develop a personal portfolio website, to showcase your creative or marketing work and allow prospective employers to view your work. According to Smashing Magazine,
“No one is going to know about your brand unless you get it out there; and if you’re a Web designer, developer, writer, gamer or any other type of creative, then it’s essential that you have a good portfolio website.”
• Follow – Follow people you admire and like – individuals, companies, groups, and associations. “Like” them on Facebook, “Connect” with them on LinkedIn, “Follow” them on Twitter. You can learn a lot from them, and they, in turn, may follow and admire you in the future. (Don’t forget to connect with CM Access!)
Of course, once you establish yourself as a brand, it’s important to remain relevant and update your “channels.” Static sites and profiles aren’t of interest to anyone. It does take some time, but isn’t your future worth it?