Was it last week’s Facebook post? Your inexperience with a certainsoftware? A mistake on your resume?
You’ve probably played this guessing game after being passed over for a job, but the truth is you may not have done one specific thing wrong. In fact, it was most likely one thing you didn’t do at all: develop a strong personal brand.
Personal branding is critical to landing a job, especially if you’re trying to move to a bigger company or higher ranking position.Past generations could get hired froma simpleinterview, but a resume and handshake areno longer enough to impress an employer.In today’s complex and competitive hiring process, personal brandingworks wonders for your career.
Create a consistentinternet identity
You’ve heard social media impacts hiring, but you may not realize how strong the connection is. A recent survey showed that 52% of employers researched candidates on social media, with higher figures in tech-related industries. That’s a13% increase between 2013 and 2015.And almost half of those employers have ruled out candidates due to negative posts—from drunk photostodiscriminatory statuses to inappropriate political posts.
But social media’s effect on the hiring process isn’t all bad.You can also use social sites to get hiredbyconducting yourself in a fun-yet-professional way. Photo albums are a great example—posting a mix of photosof your hobbies, family time, and volunteer interests shows that you’re a well-rounded person.
Presenting a consistentpersonal brand across all social platforms is also a good idea. Some people post inappropriate things on Facebook because it’s “personal”andrely on LinkedIn for job hunting. That’s the sort of inconsistent brandingthat sends recruiters running the otherway.Acting like aprofessional on all accounts will help you move on to the next stage—the interview.
Establish a strong interview presence
For hiring managers, job interviews are like watching a movie after reading a book. They’ve seen your brand on your resume and social accounts, but now they’re meeting you face-to-face for the first time. You want them to think you’re even better in person than on paper—which is only going to happen if you’re fully confident in yourself.
One of the best ways to portray confidence is to use your body. Sitting up tall and keeping your limbs uncrossed gives you an open appearance that makes you look—and feel—more powerful. Speaking in a clear voice with the proper amount of inflection (not too animated or monotone) helps you sound engaged.
Confidence also comes across in the tools you bring with you, such as your portfolio. A portfolio or small presentation of your achievements showcases your past work and helps you stay focused.And it strengthens your personal brand: you can put your portfolio inside a customizable binder that’s printed with an original design that speaks to your unique brand identity.
Tell a success story
It’s easy to think of hiring managers as cold, impersonal beings who toss “yes” resumes into a pile and “no” resumes into the garbage. But when your resume lands on the hiring manager’s desk, it’s beingread by a real person with thoughts, emotions, and hopefully a sense of humor.
Storytelling lets you build a relatablebrand that will appeal to the humans on the other side of the hiring process. Rather than focusing on a list of skills, talk about why and how you got those skills.Telling the hiring manager about your processes and reasons paints a more accurate picture of you as a worker. Not to mention it helps them stay engaged and attentive during the interview.
You can showcase your success the same way. A list of awards on a resume might not mean much, but a story about how you earned an award reveals your work ethic. You can share these stories in person during the interview or in writing on a personal blog. If you cankeep it short, include a condensed version of your story in your cover letter.
Give yourself a voice in your industry
There’s a common misconception that a personal brand is all about you. While itshould introduce who you are, it also needs to offer something of value to others in your industry. That soundscounterproductive—until you think back to high school.
There was probably someone in your class who only thought about themselves and always triedto one-up other people. It was off-putting, right? Just like you don’t want to be friends with someone who’s selfish and way too competitive, employers don’t want to hire someone with aself-promotional personal brand. It tellsthem you’re not helpful or interested in being part of a team.
A powerful personal brand shows that youcare about other people, whether you’re mentoring a younger studentin your field or blogging to share helpful information you’ve learned. How you interact with others—providing help, answering questions, or just encouraging them—is what gives your personal brand value.
Less than 5% of peopledevelop this type of relationally driven personal brand, but those are the peoplewho get hired for leadership positions. Why? Because they’ve got the authenticity and support network it takes to be a leader. If you builda genuine personal brand that contributes to your industry, potential employers will see that as a major asset to their company.
Personal branding is more than promoting yourself (even though you’re awesome). It’s about creating a professional presence in your social accounts, the interview room, and your interactions with others. Those areas all come together to tell the story of how you’ve grown and impacted your industry. With the right personal branding, you’ll not only land your dream job—you’ll be on your way to a leadership role in no time!