Anyone who has been in a transition or searched for a job has possibly murmured these words: “if they just knew me, they’d hire me.” There is a lot of truth to that statement. Each of us has much to offer but, in a competitive job market, it’s a challenge to be noticed. The internet and e-commerce have revolutionized so much, but one huge problem still remains: many people struggle to find jobs and companies struggle to find the best candidates for their open positions.
Networking is still the best way to connect with great opportunities, but we all live in a busy world. Many people see networking as a transaction, but it is a methodology that takes time. Networking is more than meeting people, chatting for a while, and exchanging business cards… it is about messaging your potential value. In the small space that networking provides, you need to communicate your skills, passions, and value to potential employers. It’s very difficult to do so effectively. In the end, a referral is much more likely to land you a job. The endorsement of a common friend or connection can be a shortcut to landing the job of your dreams…or any job at all! However, even with a glowing recommendation or referral, you still need to have defined skills to turn that connection into an opportunity.
So how do you define your skills to get yourself out there and noticed? Take cues from the very businesses and business people you admire. Take notice of how they reach their customers and message a value proposition. People have spoken of personal or employee brands for years, but one has to do more than simply define their potential value prop. To really set yourself apart, you need to have evidence that backs up your personal brand claims. Just like goods and services, without the proper marketing and message, you could remain the best employee no one has heard of.
There are many things to remember when building your personal brand. First, be sure to clearly define your core competencies. Make a list of your strengths and assets to employers.
Next, refine your list to highlight the few things you do best. As the saying goes, “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” Think critically about the things you do well and the things you want people to know you for. As you find your core strengths, find their connections to your education, experience, course work, etc. to clearly validate them. This evidence will set you apart from the pack. Actions speak louder than words, and being able to point to accomplishments that are cohesive with your brand screams “HIRE ME” to potential employers.
Throughout this process, remember that your creativity and personality is a huge part of your personal brand. Interject your personality, humor, and passions into your brand- these are things that set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
Marketing your personal brand is a process not an event. Ask the people around you what you’re good at and what defines you. It will take time to craft and build your personal brand, but in the long run, employers will remember you for it. You are special and they will hire you, but it’s your job to help them discover and appreciate you. So go forth and build your brand!
How to build your Personal Brand:
Clearly define your core competencies: Here’s what I’m good at and here’s how I can help you
Refine your focus: Highlight the few things you do best; a jack of all trades is a master of none
Map skills directly to education, experience, course work, etc: Clearly validate
Articulate your personal value: Message that you will drive results with tangible impact
Be creative: Interject your personality into your brand; don’t go overboard, but it does matter.
Sean Storin is the CEO/Co-founder of OneDegree.com, a site that aims to revolutionize the way people find jobs. He is based in Chicago. Sean has 20 years experience in start-up technology companies, business and management consulting, HCM- Staffing and IT Services. He is also a writer now and again.