Kevan Lee (creator of Buffer app) so boldly stated, “You’re a brand. I’m a brand. We’re all brands.” However, to what extent is this statement actually true? Whether we aim to be or not, I couldn’t agree more with Lee - in the job search context that is. Why? Increased leadership opportunities, greater mindshare, greater credibility and higher perceived value are some of the benefits from successful personal branding. In the day and age where there is an immensely strong social media presence, personal branding is now more important as we are in an increasingly competitive and sometimes oversaturated job market. With that being said, how does personal branding affect us in our job search? I don’t mean to burst your bubble but submitting your CV, cover letter and having a semi filled LinkedIn profile is no longer enough!
So how can you build a strong personal brand to help get your ‘perfect’ role? Below I’ll explain some ways to better your current job search strategy.
LinkedIn: I speak for myself and other search consultants when I say a large percentage of roles are filled from searched candidates on LinkedIn – in fact 93% of search consultants have used LinkedIn to source candidates. Have you ever felt envious of someone’s incredibly compelling profile? Good – use it to your advantage! Find someone who is in a similar industry/job as you and use theirs as a template, then make it even better! Know who your audience is and target it to them – if it’s for potential employers/search consultants, something as small as clearly adding in your contact details makes all the difference! A smart job seeker would optimise this resource as it encourages search consultants (like myself) to put you on top of our contact list!
Networking: One of the most effective yet underutilised way to get that job! Get out of your comfort zone and start spreading the word to everyone (yes everyone) you know! By networking, you could potentially get that job even faster and bypass any gatekeepers along the way. Ask yourself whether your networks actually know your strengths and what you do. A great way to do this is by sending out a marketing CV to your networks! Essentially it is a condensed version of your CV, usually highlighting your key roles, achievements, areas of expertise and qualifications.
CV: CVs do not get you the job! It merely opens the door for an interview. So look at your CV and ask yourself whether you would hire yourself? The problem is, we often forget to critique our own CV in the eyes of the potential employer. Think about the areas that could be strengthened. Amend it keep it true to yourself yet professional and impressive to an employer/search consultant. Leave the clichés at the door (pardon mine). Everyone is a team player, loyal and trustworthy. My tip: think yourself as a product, then create your personal elevator pitch within the ‘strengths’ and ‘overview’ sections. It should be no longer than a two minute pitch! Yes, it can be difficult thinking about what your strengths are, but dig deep, make it authentic, personal to you and most importantly tailored to the role you are pursuing! If you’re still stuck ask a colleague, friend and or partner to describe you as a starting point. Your CV is a marketing document – so sell yourself!
Interviewing: Unfortunately being qualified for the role is no longer enough! As it’s the first and potentially the last impression, I cannot stress enough how important personal branding is to align yourself to the position and the company. You need to interview with extreme clarity on who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what you want to be known for. While ensuring you have examples that justifies what makes you exceptional. This is crucial as it will show the employer your suitability and fit within their organisation by evaluating your values, motivators and so forth by ensuring it fits to theirs.
As we spend most of our waking life at work, it’s only natural to want to feel satisfied with our careers and thus finding the ‘perfect’ role is important. And so it should, as it may be one of the greatest investments you’ll ever make in your life. Therefore the key to job search success lies within you, yourself and branding!