Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Shareholders are their own.
You are reading Entrepreneur United States, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Finding a job during tough economic times is a daunting task — when companies are looking to cut costs by laying off workers and when millions are suddenly looking for ways to position themselves in competition for employment. One way to stand out in this sea of applicants is through personalized brands, which have become increasingly important over the past 20 years, and are uniquely vital in the digital age.
Before that, and for several decades, creating the right selfie was a task that seemed to be left to celebrities such as athletes and movie stars. In today’s world, you can enhance both your career and attractiveness by utilizing a well-designed personal branding strategy. It helps build trust and portrays you as a professional in your field and can assemble your following that gives you influence in the market.
Some of the main components:
1. Show your core values
Your brand should convey a strong set of values that set you apart from the competition. HR departments don’t typically hire based on credibility and credentials alone: they also want to know if candidates have a personality and approach compatible with the company. It is best then to research potential employers with whom you share views, bearing in mind that they generally look for empathy, curiosity, collaboration and teamwork skills.
Related: Personal Branding: Everything an Entrepreneur Needs to Know
2. Be unique and creative
One of the classic mistakes many job seekers make is writing a resume that looks and reads like hordes of other candidates. If you want to grab the recruiter’s attention, write one that’s unique and a perfect fit for the job. Express your personality and creativity with this important background page, which is accomplished by outlining the ins and outs of the role you are applying for and filling yourself in as a suitable match. Highlight specific strengths and experiences from the projects you’ve completed, but avoid the temptation to stuff them with irrelevant accomplishments.
During interviews, you can give yourself an extra edge by using storytelling to boost your personal brand. Recount examples that highlight your strengths – perhaps how you solved a difficult problem, followed by how the resulting experience will benefit the company.
3. Determine the target audience and present the idea to it
One of the strengths of personal branding is that it can make you an expert in a particular field. In difficult economic times, where unemployment is high, one might assume that this specificity limits employment opportunities. I’ve found this to be simply not true: it enhances opportunities, in fact. Not everyone can be your target audience, so it’s important to determine who and what is, and then make an offer to them. The more you target your personal brand, the higher the chances of getting a dream job and negotiating a decent wage. So, create messages that resonate with the right audience – create a magnetic and emotional connection between you and your potential employer.
Related: 10 tips for writing a great CV
4. Grow followers online
Your personal branding strategy should include developing an online reputation – a reputation that, like your resume, shouldn’t be forgotten, or lacking in privacy. Investing in SEO can be very beneficial. The majority of jobs do not reach online boards; Alternatively, employers may recruit from recommendations, of course, but the search engine often uses potential candidates who match the required criteria. There are several ways you can boost your SEO and grow followers simultaneously, such as creating a blog/vlog and sharing valuable content with your readers, which they may then choose to share with others. In time, and with enough effort, you can position yourself among the experts in your field, and attract more business opportunities as a result.
5. Network building
A network can go a long way towards promoting a personal brand. The more people you know in your field, the greater the chances of getting business connections. Recommendations from people you know, along with your personal brand, can open up opportunities you never dreamed of. And even if you are already well connected, there is no harm in adding more people to the network. LinkedIn is a good place to find connections, of course, but don’t forget the always important personal component, such as trade fairs, industry seminars, meetings, and other events.
Related: 5 simple job search techniques to get your dream job