Imagine landing a once-in-a-lifetime interview — the Fortune 500 Company you’ve dreamed about is considering your application, or the investor who favors your field wants to meet and discuss your startup. Subtle hints have indicated that you’re the foremost candidate. You can’t believe this is happening to you! Still, you’re so confident in your ability to land this position that you don’t even show up for the interview.
That’s exactly what you’re doing if you don’t take control of your web presence before you go job-hunting. Potential employers are going to Google you to see what you’re capable of. If their search results for your name are full of everything but your experience, they may not see much reason to follow up with you. Start improving your searchability now, so when prospective investors or HR managers begin their research, you will show up and bring your A-game.
Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
Think about why your favorite brands are your favorites. You first saw them promoted on reliable websites, noticing the quality of their digital and print ads in places you frequent or pass by every day. This happened enough times to make you curious — you recognized the brand each time you saw it because its message and appearance were consistent. Your curiosity led you to investigate, where you found through repeated interactions that their service and product quality were as top-notch as promised. Just like that, you became a fan.
Your personal brand needs to be the same way. All outlets that you use to advertise yourself (i.e. resume, Twitter account, blog) must present one uniform message that reflects your personality, drive, and skill. The stronger your brand, the better you will do in searches.
- Use repeating design elements — a specific color scheme, one or two main fonts, similar design across print and digital media.
- Incorporate your face whenever possible. Put your picture on your resume. Record a video CV to send with your job applications. Include a headshot in your blog bio. Use your real face for your LinkedIn and Twitter avatars. (All of these pictures should be professional quality and visually similar, if you don’t want to use the same shot for everything.)
- Compile a portfolio on a free website generator like Tumblr or Wix — or use a paid host like Squarespace or GoDaddy if you like their features better. This will be a one-stop shop with links to all your work: be it studio art, freelance articles, or reviews from happy clients of your pet-sitting business.
- Think of yourself as a brand. This will help you send a consistent message in everything you post and every existing brand with which you associate yourself.
- Promote your website to Google (through keywords and meta tags) and to other websites (through guest articles, subscribing to related website directories, and creating linkbuilding partnerships with other bloggers).
- Evaluate all your online representation and interactions with the simple question, “Is this good or bad for my reputation?”
Since you want to associate yourself with brands that have a classy, dependable reputation, be the kind of brand with which future employers or clients want to associate themselves.
Tricks You Aren’t Yet Using to Help Your Info Get Found
Even the best info can wind up buried on page 8 of Google Search because it wasn’t promoted skillfully enough. To keep that from happening to you, try these suggestions:
- Make sure a copy of your resume is online and rich in keywords specific to your industry.
- If your LinkedIn profile, connections, and memberships are sparse, fill in all the gaps with relevant detail. A bare-bones list of only your major work experience will not impress anyone.
- Mine little-known sources for keywords that you can develop using your own content. This is almost like tunneling under the Google infrastructure so you can pop up in the middle of it, instead of knocking for days at the front door in hope that someone will let you in.
- Photos, inbound and outbound links, and regular updates are some of the more obvious, yet effective, methods you can use to improve your site traffic.
How Being Noticed Will Benefit Your Job Search
It’s a no-brainer, really. If you’re noticed, you have a better chance of getting hired — or, in some cases, recruited. Part of personal branding is making sure that you not only get noticed, but that what gets noticed about you is of the highest quality. Even if the company that’s looking at you ends up moving on with another candidate, having your own brand will make an impression that can lead to referrals or later revisits.
What are you doing to build your own brand? Let us know what kinds of opportunities you’ve found.