In today’s competitive -- and increasingly digital -- career landscape, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. Almost every job seeker (and even those not on the hunt) is on LinkedIn, and with job boards like Indeed and Monster, employers are deluged with candidates.
So how do you get hiring managers to notice you? With the job market mostly digital today, it starts with building a solid personal brand online. Whether through a website or blog, LinkedIn profile or social media channels, candidates need to effectively communicate who they are to hiring managers and client prospects.
Below, three HR and hiring experts share their tips for shaping your personal brand on the Web:
1. Define Yourself
First, decide how you want others to perceive you. “Think about the one to two things you want others to know about you,” suggests Sharlyn Lauby, author of the popular blog HR Bartender. “It can be difficult to convey how multi-dimensional we really are on social media, but this doesn’t mean we can’t give others a sense of it. Then, hopefully, we meet people in real life and they get to know more about us.”
2. Know Your Competition
Do your research before you get started. “It’s important to have a clear understanding of where you stand in the market relative to competitors and what makes you different,” says Lisa Quast, founder of Career Woman, Inc. “Be specific and clearly define your goals and objectives,” Quast recommends. “Is it to become known as the best project manager in a certain industry? Is it to be a creative director at a large advertising agency?” Answer these questions first.
3. Be Consistent Across Online Channels
Quast also recommends that you manage your brand proactively, ensuring that “your attributes are in sync across various platforms and that they continue to reinforce your brand attributes and market niche.” Make sure that you present a similar face across the board, whether it's on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, or another social network.
1. Pretend to Be Someone You’re Not
Though it can be tempting to present an idealized version of yourself, Lauby says, “your personal brand needs to represent you. Get comfortable in your own skin and own it. You can look to others for ideas, but your brand needs to be about you.” Also, be sure to choose a photo that actually looks like you. “I really like it when people meet me for the first time and say, ‘You look just like your avatar,’” says Lauby. “It helps make a person approachable.”
2. Do the Smoke and Mirrors Approach
Similarly, make sure you’re adding real value to your market before you start broadcasting your brand. “People often skip the step where they have something unique, interesting or useful to share,” says Lance Haun, creator of HR and recruiting blog LanceHaun.com. “Create something of value, or be in the process of creating something valuable, before you even think of getting heavily involved in building your brand.”
3. Give Up Too Soon
Most people won’t see immediate returns on personal brand building. “It takes energy, especially at the beginning, without a lot of payback,” says Haun. “That's why so many people quit after six to twelve months. There's minimal traction.” However, he points out that, people who stick with it generally interesting tale rise up or a positive outcome to report. Keep at it.