Whether your job-search efforts have been successful or futile, have you considered these questions:
How am I going to get prospective employers to see me as the best candidate to meet their needs?
How am I going to differentiate myself from the competition?
How can I increase my visibility and position myself for success?
An effective way to answer them is to identify the factors that make you indispensable; in other words, develop your personal brand. Personal branding is an ongoing process that requires extra attention, time and effort to define who you are, what you want and the skills people notice in you, and then marketing yourself through those skills, strengths and career goals.
The personal branding process can help develop the skills that increase your potential to stand out in the job market. To be successful, you must take actions daily to build your personal and professional skills to create your unique personal brand. Some things you can do include:
- Identify who you are/your objective. Identify who you are, what you really want, your accomplishments, your passions and your goals. What is the service/product that you have to offer? How do your friends, co-workers, managers perceive your strengths and skills?
- Introduce and present yourself. Every encounter with a potential employer is an opportunity to sell your skills, strengths and experience. Be prepared to confidently and concisely articulate your abilities. Most importantly, your passion and drive will be evident when you present yourself (your brand) in an energetic and enthusiastic manner. Keep in mind the adage that “your attitude determines your altitude!”
- Market yourself/highlight your brand. Just as any company has marketing materials, so should you. Your marketing materials include your resume, cover letter, online profiles, business cards and a portfolio to showcase your work experience. These marketing materials help to reinforce your professionalism.
- Dress for success. Invest in professional attire that is appropriate for interviews and networking events with employers. Make sure that you’re well-groomed and have an optimistic and energetic demeanor.
- Network and volunteer. Attend networking events that focus on your industry-of-choice and career goals. Join professional organizations that offer opportunities to connect with other like-minded individuals who may be able to share ideas and broaden your knowledge of industry trends. Remember, networking should not be one-sided. Make sure to balance networking opportunities by offering ways to assist your contacts by volunteering your time, energy and expertise.
- Implement career-enhancing strategies. Stay abreast of industry trends via research. Stay relevant by enhancing your knowledge through gaining additional education, training and certifications.
As Rachel Quilty, the author of Brand Yourself, penned, “Personal Branding is the ultimate investment in yourself. If you don’t, why should you expect anyone else to?”
Shemia Williams serves as a career coach at Charlotte Works and maintains a role as a part-time skills assessment specialist in the college and career readiness department at Central Piedmont Community College. She is an energetic and performance-driven professional with more than nine years of diverse experience in recruiting, talent management, operations management and career advising. Her professional interests include career counseling, coaching and personal development. She is passionate and committed to helping others reach their full potential and fulfill their career aspirations.