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. (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.

Ten Ways to Kill Your Twitter Brand

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that helps you brand yourself and grow your own community of followers. Just as with any professional or social network, everything you do on Twitter can have a positive or negative impact on you, your personal brand and your reputation.

Whether you’ve been tweeting for a while or are just getting started, protect your Twitter brand by avoiding these 10 fatal Twitter personal branding mistakes:

1) Mixing Business and Pleasure

If you are on Twitter with the objective of building your personal brand for career advancement, focus more on tweets you would feel comfortable sharing with an employer.  This doesn’t mean you can’t tweet anything personal.  I simply suggest you create a separate profile for your social life so not to confuse and/or turn off either group of followers.

2) Spamming

One of the top reasons people lose followers on Twitter is that they over-promote themselves, their businesses, their blogs and/or their offerings.  Always maintain the 80/20 balance in your contributions: 80% of your tweets should be free and value-added and the remaining 20% can be more self-serving in nature.

3) Not Helping Your Network

Helping others, whether it be promoting their efforts, re-tweeting their content, sharing a valuable resource with them or answering a question they have posted, can earn you a loyal following and help build your network.  As a Twitter rule of thumb, always make sure to give more than you receive.

4) Not Tweeting Enough

It is estimated that over a quarter of all Twitter accounts are inactive.  If you are inactive or infrequent in your Twitter contributions and activity, it is going to be very apparent to any potential followers and/or network contacts. Be sure to invest some time and energy into your account and tweet on a regular basis so to engage and build a network of followers.

5) Forgetting a Personal Avatar

In today’s digital world, it is even more important to get the people out from behind the profiles.  Skip the business logo and make sure that you include your own personal photo as your avatar so potential followers can see who they are interacting with.

6) Wasting Your Real Estate

Your Twitter profile offers you a lot of real estate that you can leverage to promote yourself, your profiles, your blog and more.  First, make sure to include a personal bio or summary and site or profile link in your profile sidebar.  Also, don’t forget to create a personalized background.  This can include a personal photo, your business logo, as well as business, personal and/or contact information and links.

7) Following Everyone Under the Twitter Sun

While building your network does involve you following other Twitter users, it comes across desperate and less professional when you have thousands of followees, but much fewer followers.  Be patient in your network building and avoid letting the number of your followees overtake the number of your followers.

8 ) Plagiarizing

Don’t take credit for a tweet or idea that isn’t your own.  While it technically isn’t a crime, it isn’t right or professional, won’t build a good relationship with the originator and may hurt your brand if your current and potential followers were to find out.  Whenever you are sharing something with your followers that you are sourcing from someone else, be sure to add an “RT” at the beginning to show that you are re-tweeting it and/or include @JohnSmith at the end to give credit to the originator.

9) Only Re-Tweeting

Re-tweeting others’ tweets and links can help you build stronger relationships with your followers and with others within the Twitter universe; however, make sure that you contribute your own POV and your thoughts, opinions and resources and are not guilty of solely re-tweeting everyone else’s.  You won’t build your brand as a thought leader if you don’t have any thoughts of your own.

10) Not Creating a Dialogue

Obviously, to be active on Twitter, you have to start tweeting.  However, to be truly effective on Twitter, you must go beyond your own tweets and engage others in two-way conversation.  This can be down by asking questions of your followers and answering those they post, initiating or participating in Twitter chats and responding promptly to any direct messages or @ messages sent to you.

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.

How to Blog Without a Blog

While many students and professionals have jumped into the blogosphere to share their POV with the world on different topics, industries and areas of interest, some out there are more hesitant to make the investment and commitment to full-time blogging.

This may be due in part to them a) not knowing how to build and maintain a blog, b) not knowing exactly what to write about and/or c) not knowing whether they will have the time and energy necessary to keep it updated on a regular basis.

However, what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to start and maintain your own individual blog to share your POV and your personal brand online.  There are several ways you can start contributing immediately to bloggerdom and working your way up to potentially owning and managing your own blog down the road.

  • Commenting: Commenting on others’ blog posts can help you start networking and engaging your name and opinion with other bloggers.  Pick a couple blogs to follow on a weekly basis and contribute your comment.  Make sure you always add value to each post.  You can also use Google Alerts to flag new posts containing specific keywords.
  • HARO: (HARO) is FREE tool that connects professionals and students with bloggers, journalists, writers and authors seeking sources for their articles and publications.  This is a great way to get interviewed and quoted across various blogs and other media outlets.  It also becomes a nice credential to feature in interviews and career networking.
  • Twitter: Micro-blogging using services and platforms like Twitter gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions, link your followers to valuable resources, articles and other information online and work your way up to more substantial blog contributions.
  • Guest Blogging: For those of you who want to try your hand at full-length articles, consider contributing a periodic guest post to one or more blogs in your industry.  It’s best to reach out to the blog owners and ask permission first.  This will start a relationship with them, but will also allow you to customize your content to their needs.
  • Team Blogging: If you’re ready for more regular contributions, reach out to a team blog and ask to join as a weekly or more regular contributor.  You can also start your own team blog if you can recruit some fellow bloggers to join you.  This will help you all share the load and commitment while giving all of your personal brands exposure to new audiences.

Once you get a good feel for contributing, if you decide you’re ready to launch your own blog, I definitely recommend you use the WordPress blogging platform.

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress-hosted and self-hosted.

You can host your blog for free with the WordPress-hosted version via WordPress OR for a monthly fee with the self-hosted version via third-party web host. You may think this is a no-brainer and that you should go with the free WordPress-hosted version. Do what you please, but the WordPress-hosted version leaves you with less control over your blog and will end up costing you more in the end due to the fees WordPress charges for any customizations you may desire (including adding your own custom domain name and your own themes and designs).

I recommend you go with the self-hosted version and check out which is an easy-to-use hosting service that will help you get your new WordPress blog up and running in a matter of minutes.

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.

Who "Owns" Social Media?

The Internet really upended the corporate communications industry. Though PR professionals used to jeer at advertising pros for being message control freaks, and marketers used to impress boardrooms with fancypants charts and graphs and make the creatives and spindoctors look as if they failed high school algebra, at the end of the day, everyone got along. Everyone knew their job.

Now, that once playfully competitive scene is a battle taking place over a new landscape we call social media. Who owns it? Who controls it? Who deserves it? You’ll get a different answer from every industry you ask. After majoring in public relations, studying some marketing, and landing a job with an advertising firm, I’ve gained some insight on this issue.

PR’s role in social media

PR professionals are the mavens of conversation. And conversation is a huge component of social media. Daily monitoring and damage control on social media should fall into the hands of the PR firm or department. Brands without a human element are just slogans, and PR professionals are the best for the job when it comes to humanizing brands in the social space. Some brands are using social media for customer relationship management and customer service. I would argue that those practices, in the social space, are operating under a PR umbrella.

Advertisers’ role in social media

Yeah, yeah, conversation is great, but the best social media case studies are showing that brands need to create something remarkable to justify conversation. No traditional PR firm or marketing guru could have pulled off what advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy did with the Old Spice YouTube responses. That’s because advertising agencies, unlike PR or marketing firms, have the necessary resources to create professional video content on a personalized level, which is what is needed to fuel conversation and record view-counts. Many ad firms are equipped with the physical resources that take social media beyond conversation and metrics. If a brand wants to build something with the foursquare API for example, they will likely turn to their advertising firm of record for the job. Traditionally, PR firms and marketers simply did not have the interactive design or software engineer resources for that kind of endeavor.

Marketers’ role in social media

The most beautiful thing about social media for brands is that it’s very measurable. Facebook pages provide statistics. Google Analytics can show how many site visitors are coming from social media sites. There are a lot of online tools that help measure Twitter activity and, if you haven’t yet, check out Awareness Inc’s foursquare Perpectives tool. In B2C businesses, these tools are extremely valuable for marketers. I would also say that the practice of branding takes place in the marketing department. Advertising helps to actualize a brand, and PR maintains that brand with conversation, but the creation and discovery of what makes a brand lies with marketers.

The reality

The fact is that these three practices are converging like never before. These industries will move forward in the digital space and continue to battle over control of social media. However, that is not because any one practice owns social media. It’s because the skills that go along with these practices are breaking through old borders. Marketing tactics are happening in advertising firms. Conversation skills normally reserved for PR departments are being used by marketers. PR departments are reporting charts and graphs on social media now!

If you’re looking for a career in one of these industries, understand your skill set will need to include a mesh of these practices. If you’re a business looking to get into social media, look for the resources and skills, not the industry label on the company history page. There are also digital and interactive design firms setting a different standard for how these practices intertwine, but that’s a topic for another article.

How to Promote Your Blog with an Empty Bank

I, like most of my fellow bloggers out there, do not have the funds necessary to launch national advertising campaigns to promote a blog. Therefore, since my team and I founded Career Rocketeer over a year ago, I have constantly faced the challenge of finding new, free and/or low-cost ways to promote our content, build up our blog’s awareness and increase our readership.

Thankfully, if you are creative and determined, you can uncover countless ways to promote your efforts without breaking the bank.

Here are a number of tips for promoting your blog on a dime from leaders throughout the blogosphere:

Looks matter. If your blog looks like and sounds like everyone else’s, no one is going to care. If your blog looks like crap, it doesn’t matter that you have the best content out there, no one is going to read it. We’re a superficial society so if you’re going to spend money on anything beyond a domain name and hosting, it should be on the design of your blog. – Brandon Mendelson,

Don’t bury your best content. Direct readers to your most popular postings using links, a featured articles section, a resources page etc. – Chris Groscurth,

Linked on LinkedIn. One totally free and effective way to promote a blog is to post blog articles to the news section of your LinkedIn groups. You can now post articles to many groups simultaneously. You can also post the URLs to articles when you answer questions on the Answers section of LinkedIn. This gives your blog exposure. – Cheryl E. Palmer,

Don’t forget to feed your social media! The best thing I ever did for my blog was to have it automatically feed into my social media profiles. The headline and link go into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo, and the full text goes into Facebook Notes. – Shel Horowitz,

Status Updates. While this one may seem pretty obvious, it’s not that simple. Sure, you could just type your blog post’s headline into all of your social sites’ status boxes, include your shortened link and call it a day. But this might not maximize clicks. Realize that each social site is a little different (i.e. different environment, social etiquette, audience demo/psychographics). Tailoring your status/headline for each community could make a big difference. No time for that? Use Plug in all your social networks and use to shorten your URL and launch your new post to all your sites in one step. Brody Dorland,

Help a reporter out. If you’re not using Help A Reporter Out (HARO) at, you’re really missing out on an outstanding free resource.  On HARO, you can register for free to receive article and book topic queries from journalists, writers, bloggers and authors across multiple topic categories to which you can respond and pitch your relevant advice, experience or insights.  If selected, you almost always get some press, including your name and blog/company, as well as a link back to your preferred site.  This is a great (and FREE) way to get some visibility for your blog while networking with other leaders in your field. – Chris Perry,

Identify guest bloggers. Search out people who do things similar to what you do and ask them to be a guest blogger. They will likely tell their readers about your blog, resulting in a great promotion for you. Many bloggers will then ask you to guest blog for them. It becomes a winning situation. – Jill Nussinow,

Become a guest blogger. One of the simplest strategies I’ve found to promoting a blog is to write guest posts for other blogs. The secret is to write for blogs that are just a little outside of your own niche — if you write about cooking for instance, write a guest post about cooking inexpensively for a personal finance blog. That approach will help you reach an audience beyond what your competition (the other blogs covering the same topics) sees. – Thursday R. Bram,

Create lists. I know other bloggers get HUGE traffic out of doing lists like “Top 50 Blogs on Knitting”. Without fail, the authors of the majority of these blogs will link back to the referring site, even if that listing site has very few readers. Bloggers are vain, after all. I don’t often do stuff like that, but maybe I should. – The Cranky Product Manager,

Get listed. The best way I’ve found to promote my blog is find sites that list blogs about your topic and get on that list. For example, I got myself on’s blog list as well as’s list. It gives credibility and promotes your blog. It’s also listed on Wikio, BallHype and Golfblips. Usually all I have to do is put a link to their site, if anything at all. – Michael Wolfe,

Track how you’re doing. Take advantage of Google Analytics to track your traffic so you can see how people are finding you.  If you notice that a lot of people find you via “Best used cars,” you might want to write a few posts on that to keep the momentum going. – Jon Stroz,

Get creative with bartering. If you offer a service and want some ad space, offer to trade your service for a free ad. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer who wants to get featured on a bride’s blog, offer a discount or a free shoot in exchange for exposure. – Mandy Boyle,

Latch onto a star! Here’s what I mean: For more than two years, I’ve blogged for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a top-twenty American news site (40 million page views per month). Except for my time, my costs are zero. The domain is professional with ads galore, so there’s plenty of opportunity and it’s all over Google. – Roberta Beach Jacobson,

Promote your blog offline. Instead of Twitter, use the local trade fair, or networking event (again, focus on making friends over networking).  Make business cards, but don’t “sell” people on anything.  Your business cards are a reminder for people to get in contact with you, not a desperate attempt to push your business/service on them.  Talk to as many people as possible.  Make friends not just “network”. – Zach Davis,

I want to give special thanks to all of the bloggers who contributed their blog marketing insights!  If you have some tips or other free or low-cost ways to promote a blog, please share them with us!

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.

Personal Re-Branding for Career Changers

There is a lot of great advice out there on personal branding for both students just entering the workforce and for professionals pursuing the next stage in their current, chosen career path. But what about career-changers?  How can they re-brand themselves for new opportunities when they have already invested so much time, effort, training and more into branding themselves for their previous careers?

Here are some tips to help you career changers out there reposition yourselves for successful career transitions:

Improve Your Self-Perception: Many people are stuck in the job description of their last position. You can be a software engineer at more than a financial services company. You can be a network administrator in many industries. You can work in customer service in more than a department store. Believing that you are viable in an array of career opportunities will also go a long way in helping you increase your self-worth and the way you project yourself. – Barbara Poole,

Develop Brand Versatility: As you develop your personal brand and supporting pitch, make sure that it is industry or function-neutral and can be interchanged with different career-specific adjectives.  For example, my personal brand is the “generator,” for I generate a lot of energy, am constantly creating new ideas and solutions to problems and love building relationships and strong-knit teams.  However, generator does not necessarily refer to my career direction.  I am in marketing and brand management, and thus, I would describe myself as a Brand & Marketing Generator; however, if I started pursuing a new career in finance or some other function or industry, I would still be a generator, but could change my personal brand descriptors to align more effectively with my newly-chosen career path.  – Chris Perry,

Make Social Networking Work For You: You need to make a name for yourself in your new field. In today’s Twitter and Facebook world, you must make yourself known on the internet. You want to be sure that potential employers can find you if they search topics relevant to the field you are targeting. One method I have personally found effective is to review books covering your field on book sites like To return to the engineer-to-financier example above, the engineer would do well to seek out important new books in the finance field, then write compelling, informative reviews on them at Many search engines, like Google, consider product reviews to be important and relevant to searchers and will rank them fairly high during searches. For example, after writing a recent review on a marketing book at, even I was surprised at finding that review as the #1 search result when I Googled my name. Sounds crazy, I know, but try it. It works. – Stephan Sorger,

Arrange Informational Interviews: Go on informational interviews with hiring managers! Career changers often have the most difficult time making their resumes pop from a pile, because HR is scanning for key words, experiences, and degrees that career changers often don’t have. If you build a relationship with a future boss/company, you will have a much easier time getting face-time when an opportunity in your new field emerges. –  Alexia Vernon,

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.

Give Your Facebook Brand a Facelift

With so much great advice out there about how to build one’s personal brand through blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks, it’s important not to forget how all of it applies to one’s Facebook activity.

Here are some top personal branding tips on how to enhance your Facebook presence:

Plug your personal brand. Before you do anything else, physically plug your personal brand and supporting pitch or statement right into your Facebook profile.  You can do this in the About Me box below your profile picture, the About Me section under your profile’s Info tab as well as in a profile Note.  This will not only help you communicate and reinforce your brand to your current friends, but also to new friends, potential partners or prospective employers. – Chris Perry,

Claim your domain. The first step in Facebook personal branding is to obtain your own domain name on Facebook if available (i.e. Having your own Facebook URL makes it easier for people to find you and can be a great marketing tool that you can add to all your social networks, business cards and in your email signatures.  – Derrick Hayes,

Optimize your keywords. Ask someone (in your industry) to proof your LinkedIn profile.  I used to recommend doing this with a paper resume, but even easier if you have a friend in the industry.  Just ask them to peruse to see if you missed any key words, etc.  – Diane K. Danielson,

Be a resource. Don’t just use the updates.  Share resources (articles, websites, book reviews etc.) to show that you not only have an expertise but you generously share your skills/knowledge. – Drew McLellan, The McLellan Group

Initiate conversation. Seek comments on your wall and start a dialogue with your Facebook friends. This will galvanize your friends to share and link back to your content, thus increasing your reach. Join or create relevant groups and fan pages, and actively participate in them. Posting your promotions blindly across the site will simply be viewed as spam, so two-way communication is key. – David Mathison,

Create a Facebook fan page. This page is separate from your personal profile and should include a clear attractive photo (modest attire), basic personal information i.e. postal address, valid professional email etc. and at least 3 notes, written by you.

The first note describes your educational and professional accomplishments. Consider this an elaboration of your resume. The second note describes the type of company you would like to work for. Use this to describe in detail your “perfect” company and ideal working conditions.  Finally, your third note is your personal advocate note. Hypothetically describe a problem that a company faces and how you would solve it.  – Charlene Nora,

Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this wealth of personal branding insight!

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.

The Brand Building Bird Named Twitter

Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite, offered a really insightful Twitter job search tip about Twitter, stating, “It’s not the individual Tweet that attracts the employer, but your cumulative presence on Twitter.”  He went on to say that Twitter is not just a broadcast tool for self-promotion and short-term job searching, but also an opportunity for long-lasting brand building and development through conversation and community engagement.

There are many things that you can do to begin building a truly meaningful presence on Twitter so not only to enhance your brand for your job search, but also for the rest of your career.  Here are just some of the top ones to get you started:

Use a memorable name. Make your “Twitter Handle” your full name or company name.  People will come to associate your Twitter handle with YOU and your work, make it count. – T.C. Coleman, @UpwardAction

Don’t forget your profile. Precisely fill out your information so potential employers know who you are and what you’re looking for.  For more depth into your background, be sure to include links to your LinkedIn, blog or other professional networking sites on your Twitter.  – Heather Huhman, @ComeRecommended

Craft a Twitter background. Complete your brand identity with a background that resembles the colors, format and logo from your personal website, if you have one.  If not, choose colors and graphics (if relevant) that support the brand you seek to create.  Then, add in additional information that isn’t covered in your Twitter profile, but is relevant to your expertise and job search, such as pointers to more websites or contact information. – Betsy Richards, @erichards24

Share relevant, applicable and interesting content. “Listeners” are interested in following individuals from whom they can learn, grow and share. – Justin Honaman, @jhonaman

Show your expertise. You can differentiate yourself by showing your expertise – HOW you are different. Many if not most of your tweets if you are just starting up should be links to news articles in your field. Use #hashtags to help people find them. – Maryanne Conlin, @mcmilker

Twitter works best when used conversationally. Many people get on Twitter and just promote themselves, and wonder why they don’t have any responses.  If Twitter is a party, than Tweeting only about you is like standing in the middle of the room shouting your ideas.  Find people and retweet what they’re saying or reply if they post something you find interesting.  The more you get involved in conversations, the more fun the party is. – Jennifer Turner, @Talagy

Create value. Beyond simply linking your followers to others’ content, begin thinking about how you can create content to help your community or industry.  Start a blog and tweet your advice, tips or insights.  Use Twitter’s list feature to create a group of the industry’s top experts and thought leaders and share that with your community.  This will undoubtedly build your brand and help you as you pursue opportunities throughout your career. – Chris Perry, @CareerRocketeer

Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this wealth of personal branding insight!

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.