Are you a recent graduate feeling lost in the daunting (and often depressing) job-hunt? Don’t worry, that’s how I felt after graduating, too. I was sending tons of resumes into what seemed like a black hole.
Turns out there are all sorts of obstacles out there no one tells you about that can trip you up, and you never find out what hit you.
Did you know that if you don’t use the right keywords on your resume there is a very good chance that your resume will never reach the HR department? Scary isn’t it?
Don’t panic. There are ways to beat those systems (see our stories about the so-called Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS).
But the best way to beat the system is to use other ways to get employers’ attention. You can actually make employers come to you instead of desperately trying to break through the massive crowd of applicants for a small number of openings.
How? The answer is simple: Personal Branding!
Build your personal brand by creating unique, industry related content and having high-level conversation with industry leaders In short order, you will have their attention and they will know your name and be aware of your skill sets. You will have plugged into the “hidden job” market by building a professional network.
But first, here is a checklist of things you need to do.
First of all GOOGLE YOURSELF. Explore your “digital footprint.” What’s on the internet about you? Is it professional? Is it appropriate? Go through your Facebook partying photographs. Remove the unprofessional ones. If a friend has tagged you in their photos, ask them to remove the tags. Also, pay attention to your grammar on your Facebook and other social media pages. That simple act could prevent you from losing potential job opportunities.
Now that you have cleaned up your digital reputation let’s move on to the next step of creating your personal brand. How do you want to present yourself? What unique characteristics or skills do you want to show to your potential employers?
First, you MUST have a LinkedIn Profile. Fill it out completely. Shoot a professional photo of yourself. Link off with your other social profiles. Follow companies, join groups, and keep connected and engaged.
Your next personal branding activity consists of writing a short bio (one or two sentences for your resume “profile”) and longer bio (a paragraph for your “Me Site”).
Use lots of keywords that are relevant to either a specific job you want or that apply to your industry in general. You can find these by perusing job postings on Monster or Indeed or SimplyHired and collect the keywords companies clearly value because they use them over and over in describing the perfect candidate for their openings.
Once you‘ve cleaned up your digital footprint and chosen your keywords, it’s time to build your “Me” site. This will be a personal branding web page that potential employers will visit to learn more about you, your skills and your accomplishments.
This is a single-page site where you put links to all of your work as well as to your resume and social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). The focus of the page is a large high-quality photograph of yourself in a professional setting that will instantly create a positive and lasting first impression of you in the minds of hiring managers. Some sites that you could use for your “Me” site are about.me, flavors.me. vizify.com, and wix.com. Check them out, have some fun with them and start using whichever one you feel more comfortable with.
The next, and perhaps most important step in creating your personal brand is the creation of a passion blog. What topic within your professional field really interest you? What are you most passionate about that is driving ot launch your career in this field?
Blogging about that topic will get you one giant step closer to your dream job. Why: Because your blog will give you the chance to demonstrate your skills AND raise your profile in your field.
Chose a topic that will force you to interview the major players in your field. By doing this, your first contact with them will NOT be as a lowly supplicant begging for a job. Instead, you will be talking with them about major issues or trends or ideas at the core of your (and their) industry. The quality of your questions and your conversation will fix you in their mind as an up-and-coming talent.
Before you start a post, do some research to find trending topics in your industry, and then research those topics thoroughly. Identify which players in your industry have had something to say about the topic. Find out what they’ve written or said and be prepared to ask intelligent questions about why they have taken their position.
You will definitely be several steps ahead of your competitors if you show that really know what you’re talking about and took the time to do your research on them.
For your blog, engagement and reach is the key. The more people you reach from your industry, the better. Your purpose should be to create a conversation with the industry leaders. If you need some help about writing the perfect blog post here are some quick tips. Some platforms that you could use for blogging are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr. Probably the most professional one to use would be WordPress.
Once your blog is up and running, use other social media platforms to promote your personal brand, your wok AND highlight the work of others (they say it’s best to promote others 80% of the time and yourself 20% of the time). Start using Twitter by following industry leaders, creating original posts and retweets their best stuff. Then engage with them. Direct message them (but only after you’ve retweeted them several times and they might recognize your name).
Keep your tweets short and concise. Don’t tweet about your day, how you feel, what you’re having for lunch, etc. Keep your posts related to professional topics.
These are the essential steps to create your online personal brand and presence. Your “Me” site, blog, Twitter page, LinkedIn profile and other social media sites you choose to launch will prove you have the skills your resume says you do and raise your profile in your field.
Done right and you’ll have employers coming to you. Wouldn’t that be great?! It’s happened to some Degrees2Dreams students.
Why not make that your story. Start building your personal brand today.
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- How to Create Your Personal Brand Using Social Media - October 30, 2012