When I write websites, social media, blogs, and articles for my business clients, my omnipresent goal is to maintain the company’s brand. It must be consistent and obvious. Think about the brands you know: Starbucks, Target, and Old Navy all bring visuals to mind, and perhaps certain feelings or attitudes as well. When you are a job seeker, YOU are the brand, and you need to start looking at yourself as a commodity. Who wouldn’t want to buy what you’re selling?
What Is Your Brand Currently?
Do a Google search on your name, both by itself and with your city of residence. Do you find yourself? I know of someone who found an adult film star with the same name! Remember that employers are doing a Google search on you as well. They are also searching social media, so check to see what your LinkedIn profile says, as well as your posts on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. On some sites, you can lock down what you share, so be sure you either have everything set to private or are only sharing things that are work appropriate.
Punch Up Your Brand
What if you searched your name and couldn’t find yourself anywhere (or found something untoward)? Google indexes major sites pretty regularly, so if you didn’t even see your LinkedIn profile, you have some work ahead of you. First, make sure you have a complete LinkedIn profile, and remember to give yourself a vanity URL. Then, if you really want to make a name for yourself, why not start blogging? You can blog on your site or someone else’s, but either way, blogs are an excellent way to generate some SEO support rather quickly. As a bonus, if you have a website, you can create an online portfolio for employers to learn even more about you.
Reputation Management Is a Must
Once you have a brand established, you must stay on top of it. Run a Google alert on your name so you know when it comes up in news. That way, if anything bad surfaces, you will have the opportunity to address it immediately. This is what the savviest companies do with their brands, and if you want to have a successful job search, it’s a great top-level tool to include in your toolbox as well.
For even more information on personal branding see: http://www.localwork.com/blog/branding-yourself-for-2014