5 Steps for Career Branding: Make Employers Come to You
In your job search, you, the job seeker, seek out the employer, but that doesn’t have to be the case throughout your entire career. There are many ways that you can brand yourself to stand out, increase your visibility in front of career stakeholders and inevitably make employers come to you.
Here are just 5 ways you can change the game and get employers to come to you:
1. Start Blogging: Starting and maintaining your own blog requires investment and commitment of your time, energy and creativity. While you can choose to blog on any topic you desire, focusing your blog’s theme and content to better serve your industry can be an outstanding way to show off your personal brand and demonstrate your unique value to potential employers and career stakeholders. Not only can this blog be a great entrepreneurial venture to include on your resume and online profiles, but it shows your hiring managers and interviewers industry involvement and contribution outside of your full-time experience. Blogs are very easy to get started. There are both free and self-hosted platforms to choose from, including WordPress, Blogger and Typepad.
2. Get Quoted: Whether or not you start your own blog or contribute guest posts regularly to industry-related blogs, getting quoted online in blogs and other online magazines or offline in books or other periodicals on a topic relevant and valuable to your industry and target employers adds a new credential for you to taut in your job search, but also really boosts your personal brand for your long-term career. HelpaReporter.com (HARO) is a FREE service that links reporters, journalists, bloggers and authors with experts and experts-to-be to get quoted in print or online media. Sign-up to receive daily queries from HARO and respond as often as possible and appropriate to any related to your field or areas of interest. Before long, you may be quoted in the Wall Street Journal, a published book or interviewed for leading blog, which will increase your credibility across your network and beyond.
3. Get to the People Behind the Postings: Most job seekers and professionals neglect informational interviews, likely because they sound boring, hard to get, ineffective and/or all of the above. Informational interviews are actually powerfully effective both in your job search and in your career networking. By reaching out and asking for a few minutes to learn about a fellow professional’s career, experience and advice (Note: this does not mean asking for a job), you get a chance to introduce yourself and your brand, share your value and make a stronger connection with someone new. While this person may not be in the position to hire or ready to hire at the time of your interview, you are now on that individual’s radar and maybe a first go-to candidate for the next opportunity that comes up.
4. Offer Your Ideas: If you’re willing to put a little work into targeted job searches and take a small, calculated risk, you might consider doing a little research for your chosen company, identify the right contacts within and offer them a free proposal of fresh ideas related to trends and opportunities in the industry or functional area. Consider sharing some relevant case studies that support your suggestions and spark more thought. It will be essential that you really think these through in putting them together and that they be grammatically correct etc., as these may be someone’s first or last impression of you. Offering your ideas or suggestions is risky in the sense that it opens the door for rejection or no response; however, it immediately shows the recipient your investment, your creativity 7and ultimately the value you offer the organization.
5. Step Up to the Podium: If you like the opportunity to speak publically and have something relevant to share with your peers, whether it be advice, experience or case studies, consider developing a presentation or presentations that you can pitch to present for various industry associations, alumni groups and other organizations. Whether they are webinars or in-person events, presenting to an audience sets you apart as a confident thought leader who has true value to share with others, whether it be an audience or an employer. Do a little background research on both what organizations and associations are out there and exactly what topics and events are currently being offered so to determine how you could offer something to serve unmet needs or compliment their current event programing.
Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.