A few years ago when I got laid off from Microsoft, I got a quick lesson in how important it was to invest time in your personal brand regardless of your job situation. I had not done that, and was then left with no online identity to fall back on. I was competing with thousands of other job applicants with my traditional cover letter and resume, and regardless of my qualifications, was often buried in an inbox of competition.
Fast forward to today and I have a fantastic job that I absolutely love, and my path to it was a direct result of the dedication I put into defining and establishing my personal brand using the following five tactics that I still follow to this day.
- Personal Blog – I can’t say enough about how having a personal blog that you contribute to regularly can stand you out from the crowd. By sharing your insights, knowledge and expertise in an open environment, you are able to establish yourself and gain credibility that future employers would never be able to glean from a resume. Make the commitment to creating and writing to a personal blog 1-2 times a week, and you’ll be amazed at what doors can open up for you. Be sure to check out these previous posts I’ve written to help you get started. How To Blog More Effectively Part 1: Keywords Social Media-ize Your Blog 5 Steps To A Professional Grade Blog On A Budget
- Create Your Keyword List – What you write and share should be a reflection of who you are and what you know. Take some time to create a keyword list that defines you personally and professionally. It’s this keyword list that you should use regularly to describe yourself in your social media profiles and the blog posts that you write.
- Get Serious About Twitter – Many people just stick with Facebook and never think Twitter is worth their time. If used properly, Twitter can be a great tool to establish yourself professionally, grow an audience, and network. Take the time to brand yourself appropriately, and get into a rhythm of using Twitter to share relevant content, engage with like minded users, and network for opportunities. Use tools like Hootsuite, Hootlet and TwitrBackgrounds.com to get up and running.
- Get Active With LinkedIn Groups – Linked In Groups are an often unknown resource that can pay big dividends in a variety of ways. Outside the obvious that it’s a community directly tied to job opportunities, there are thousands of great communities with vibrant discussions. Take the time to contribute to these conversations, share your content, and establish yourself. In addition to the uptick in traffic you’ll see to your blog, you’ll make some great connections that can lead to future opportunities. As a side note, it goes without saying to make sure your LinkedIn Profile is up to date and updated frequently to stay fresh.
- Have The Jobs Come To You – Searching endlessly for job listings is tedious and time consuming. Instead, use a tool like Google Reader and subscribe to job listings where applicable. Create a job folder in your Google Reader, and add RSS subscriptions from Craigslist on searches relative to your job hunt. Also consider resources like Indeed.com which also let you grab an RSS feed based on your custom searches. You’ll save yourself countless hours by being able to quickly and easily browse job listings this way instead of manually searching.
Put these simply actions into play, and you’ll find yourself above and beyond most candidates who continue to play the resume game. Good luck!