Trends have changed drastically in the job search world.
A great resume, cover letter and even a winning social media presence are no longer enough. The new normal is that you are expected to have your own personal brand which defines and expresses who you are. As I like to say, we used to talk about name brands, but now your name IS your brand!
Here are the top 5 Personal Branding Tips:
1) Know who you are: The first step in creating your personal brand is assessing who you are and where your strengths lie. Think of your brand as the value you can add to a company, job or field. To be helpful,your brand needs to be reflective of the skills you really bring to the table and what makes you stand out.
If you are having trouble assessing your skills and developing your brand, PricewaterhouseCoopers has a great personal brand workbook available for free here: http://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers/campus/assets/img/programs/personal-brand-workbook.pdf
2) Be honest about who you are: We should always be striving to improve ourselves and our skills. That said, people are different. Your brand must be an accurate reflection of who you are, not who you hope to be. Be honest with yourself and don’t set exaggerated expectations that you are unable to meet. My guiding rule–if you are trying too hard to create or maintain your brand, it is probably not your brand.
3) Express who you are: Once you determine your specialty and the value that you bring, you need to be able to disseminate that information in short, social-media sized messages. Focus on the important things that really make you stand out, but keep the wording under 130 characters so you can use it as your LinkedIn Headline or easily share it on Twitter.
4) None of us are unique: Discovering and expressing your professional brand is an empowering experience. A warning is in order, however. Your skills and expertise make you who you are, but avoid describing your skills as “unique.” There are seven Billion people in the world. I guarantee you that you are not unique. A better idea is to find a creative way to express your brand and your value so that it gets noticed.
5) Everything you do is part of your brand: I keep going back to this warning. Everything you post online is permanent. The reality is that all of your online activities become part of your brand. One negative comment or picture can adversely affect your brand and make you much less marketable. Always make sure to stay “on brand” in your posts, and avoid pictures or comments that will negatively impact how you are viewed.