In this modern age of personality-driven marketing and recruitment, you can’t afford to sit around waiting for HR representatives or CEOs to discover you — instead, it’s up to you to bring yourself to their attention as effectively as possible. To achieve this goal, you have to build and promote your personal brand. Let’s examine five steps that you can take to concoct a personal branding strategy for your preferred audience of potential employers.
Personal Branding Strategy #1: Brand Persona Development
The first personal brand strategy you should pursue is the creation of a brand persona. When you think about countless number of major corporate brands you encounter every day, you probably associate specific themes, benefits and/or positive emotions with those brands. A brand persona can be thought of as the voice, face, or “personality” of an organization. If you owned and operated your own business, you’d have to think about how to present a certain persona that encapsulates what that company is all about. As a job seeker you have to do the same; the only difference is that your company is “Myself, Inc.”
How do you establish that personal brand? Start by writing down your:
- Short-term and long-term goals
- Education, training, and past achievements (which all contribute to your personal brand’s “story”)
- Special interest and passions
- Unique value proposition (UVP), the ways in which you can fulfill an employer’s needs better than anyone else
As you work on these details, you’ll begin to develop a mental picture of a particular type of job candidate. That’s your personal brand persona.
Strategy #2: Target Audience Definition
Once you’ve established what you uniquely have to offer, it’s time to think about exactly which types of employers you want your personal brand to reach. No one can succeed in being all things to all people, and attempts to do so usually result in a watered-down brand that makes no impact on anyone.
As a job seeker, you probably have some pretty clear ideas about what kind of position you would like and what kind of company you’d like to work for. Apply these insights to your personal branding strategy by taking a page from the professional marketing departments who rely on something called a buyer persona. Yes, just as you created a persona for yourself, you can work out a persona that represents your ideal employer. Ask yourself these questions:
- What corporate culture would you expect to find there?
- What specific goals and challenges will the recruiters be trying to address?
- How do they arrive at recruiting decisions? What do they like or dislike in job candidates?
- Where you most likely to encounter these recruiters (both online and offline)?
Strategy #3: Personal/Professional Website
Just as modern businesses typically center their online brand presences around their websites, you’ll want to create a personal/professional website as the next step in your personal branding strategy. Research has indicated that over 60 percent of individuals who maintain personal websites have received job offers as direct result of their efforts. A website is the perfect low-pressure vehicle for giving recruiters a guided tour of your personal brand.
Creating and maintaining your website doesn’t have to exhaust you. Simply focus on:
- A home page that welcomes visitors and points them toward its various features
- A personal bio page
- A resume page that goes into detail about past jobs, degrees, awards etc.
- A blog that offers periodic insights and observations into your chosen field or speciality
Strategy #4: Social Media
Remember that question in your buyer persona about where your prospective employer prefers to hang out online? Let this information guide you in your choice of social media channels. LinkedIn is an evergreen option for most segments of the business world — but video companies, for example, might also respond to any demos you’ve posted on your YouTube channel, while B2C recruiters might be especially interested in how you handle your Facebook presence. Linking your social media channels back to your website makes your personal branding strategy that much more effective.
Strategy #5: In-Person Networking
Networking doesn’t just mean taking part in social media interactions. In-person networking events can play an important role in your personal branding strategy by putting you in front of the actual individuals who do the hiring for your target companies. Just make sure to follow the rules of the game:
- Bring lots of business cards, but don’t shove them into people’s hands until asked.
- Ask questions, engage in real conversations, and focus on the other person.
- Seek out a few strong contacts rather than “working the room” indiscriminately.
Put these tactics to work for you, and you’ll see for yourself just how powerful a personal branding strategy can be!
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