Personal Branding 101

GU_set_yourself_apartAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 10.5 million Americans are currently unemployed. That’s fierce competition, but you can set yourself apart in the sea of skilled applicants by building a personal brand to showcase the unique value you offer an organization. Building your personal brand doesn’t happen overnight, but if done correctly can be the ticket to landing your dream job.

What Makes You Different?

The first step in building your brand is gaining an understanding of what makes you different from the competition and if these differences will be valued by employers. Your brand is much more than what kind of job you want, it is the unique skills and talents you hold that seem to come more naturally than it does others. Jesika McCauley, director of career services for Globe University, recommends you take some time to ask yourself these questions before you begin your job search. “Think about one thing that sets you apart, whether that’s military experience, or customer service skills you’ve gained with a part-time job,” she says. “Reflect on yourself, and know what you can bring to the table before someone asks you in an interview.”

Build Your Brand

Once you’ve pinpointed exactly what differentiates you from the competition, you should begin building your personal brand around it. The most important piece of building your brand is making sure your branding materials (resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc.) and online profiles are consistent with one another. “Make sure all your documents have the same header to maintain consistency,” McCauley says. “Your LinkedIn profile should also be updated and should reflect your branding materials, including your resume.” McCauley suggests editing your LinkedIn profile to be geared toward your career goal. “Instead of letting the site auto populate your current job title of ‘Cashier at Target’ as your header, change it to ‘Vet Tech Student Seeking Externship,’” she says. This should be the same headline across all your networking profiles and marketing materials.

Using other social media sites is also a good way to build your brand. If you want to present yourself as an expert in health fitness, use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to share industry news and trending topics. You can also start your own blog on nutrition and exercise tips, and include it in your portfolio. It’s important that you view your online profiles as an avenue to sell your value and promote your personal brand, rather than using them as an online resume or to post pictures from the weekend.

Stand Out

The stronger your personal brand, the better chances you have of landing the job. When it comes to branding, you want to be known for the skills you possess and be at top of mind when your expertise is mentioned.  Don’t be afraid to let people know what you’re good at. Use the social networking sites you belong to as a means to position yourself as an expert in your field and a resource that can be counted on for industry specific advice.

When you are applying for jobs, make sure you stand out in each step of the process. “If there are multiple applications for a position, you want to be memorable to the hiring manager,” says McCauley. “Always follow up every interview with a thank you note to each person who you spoke with.” McCauley also stresses the importance of tailoring your resume and other marketing materials to each job.

“Make sure you’re standing out for the right reasons. Don’t just be remembered because you have a cool design on your resume but because your skills and talents made an impression with the hiring manager,” says McCauley.

If you take the right steps toward finding what makes you unique and building your personal brand, you’ll stand out among the competition and show employers just how valuable you are. To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit www.globeuniversity.edu/about-us/career-services.