Finding a job is an art. Just like an artist uses attention to detail with every stroke of the paintbrush to reflect a magnificent image on canvas, you must use attention to detail in creating your brand and enhancing your professional image.
Think of what a brand is. It’s a symbol or image that reflects the value of a company or organization; it’s an outward representation of an inward value. So, a personal brand would consist of those outward things that reflect who you are to other people. The ideas below are simply an overview. A deeper analysis could be conducted on each item; my objective is simply to introduce you to the idea of creating your brand.
1. Social Media Profiles: Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile; visit www.linkedin.com and create an account if you haven’t already. If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure it’s at 100% completion. For more tips on enhancing your LinkedIn profile, do some Google searches. Make sure your Facebook (www.facebook.com) and Twitter (www.twitter.com) accounts are cleaned up and professional as well. Refer to the following article for more LinkedIn tips: http://www.localwork.com/blog/3-tips-to-linkedin-like-an-all-star
2. Resume: Ensure your resume is formatted well, with no grammar errors. Google search examples of well-written resumes. Also visit http://www.grammardocs.com/ for more tips.
3. Cover letter: Cover letters are not as common these days, but you still want to make sure you have one handy because some, more traditional employers, may ask for it.
4. Your Personal Interests and Skills: Make sure you identify what industry and field you want to work in and be specific. Think about what you do best, what you’re passionate about, and what you have experience doing, and plan your job search around those things. Identify yourself as an expert in one area or another whether it’s Customer Service or Engineering. This will help brand you as a professional.
5. Outward Appearance: You MUST look professional. Error on the side of overdressing for your interviews, but whatever you do, keep your tuxedo in the closet! Make sure your shoes are shined, your clothes are matching and ironed, and your grooming is appropriate and clean.
6. Portfolio: Put together a professional portfolio that you can share with prospective employers. This would include a copy of your resume, examples of work you’ve done, copies of certifications you’ve earned, awards you’ve won, etc. Put them in a nice folder and have it handy when the time is right to share it with your interviewer.
7. Me In 30 Second Statement: Otherwise known as your Elevator Pitch, this statement is highly important to create for yourself. It’s the declaration of who you are as a person and a professional; take some quality time writing this out, then memorize it. Make sure it doesn’t go longer than 30 seconds to recite! You will use this statement often when searching for employment both during phone screen interviews and face-to-face interviews you’re involved in. How well you articulate your Me In 30 Second Statement is a direct reflection of your confidence and surety that you are the candidate the organization must hire. Employers judge your opening statements carefully, so make sure you’re organized and succinct by having prepared your Me In 30 Second Statement well; it is very much a part of your branding.
After you have branded yourself well, promote yourself everywhere. Tell everyone you know you’re looking for work and what specifically you’re looking for. Specificity in your job search will yield an opportunity that you truly love instead of a job you simply tolerate.
Know your resources! There are many local resources whose mission it is to help you find meaningful employment opportunities. Some of those opportunities are as follows: LocalWork.com, CareerConnectors.org, Maricopa Workforce Connection, and Goodwill of Central Arizona.