You’re not like everyone else.
That’s a fact. You have your own unique skillset, and that’s what can give you a leg up over other people in your industry. The key word here is “can”.Whether or not people recognise your talents and contributions depends largely on your personal brand -the collection of traits that first spring to mind when others think about you. So how do you make sure your brand is strong enough to stand out in today’s competitive job market? There are some basic personal attributes that never go out of style: consistency, punctuality, communicating in a well-mannered fashion -and, when it comes to body language, direct eye contact and a firm handshake are key. These go-to guidelines have been around for ages because they work. These days, though, they aren’t the only tools in the shed. With the internet and social media becoming more ingrained in people’s everyday lives, it is important to keep a few tips in mind:
1) KNOW YOUR NETWORK
Networking is an old standby and, like your favourite pair of jeans, it never goes out of style. Why? Simply put, nothing beats the personal element. Keeping a good working relationship with the people around you -even if they aren’t going to be your next best friend -keeps professional avenues open, because 40 per cent of companies hire staff from employee referrals.
This isn’t limited to the people you already know. With a wealth of information online, it’s easy to do research on executives, hiring managers, and other major players in your desired field. Get to know people digitally, then introduce yourself at conferences, fairs, and similar events. Show that you know them, and they’ll be far more likely to remember you -and if you get an email address, remember to send a thank you note afterward to solidify your impression.
2) GET SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY
Pretty much everyone has at least one social media page, but whether you’re tweeting, writing on a friend’s timeline, or sending a LinkedIn post to your contacts, you should adhere to certain guidelines. If you want to be seen as a professional, be sure to always use correct grammar and spelling. Use common sense. Remember when you were told, “don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your parents or grandparents to see”? Well, you probably don’t want the leadership team at your dream job seeing your less-than-professional posts either.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post anything. In fact, hiring managers are often uncomfortable if they can’t find people online, and it may harm your image overall if no one knows about you. Use discretion, and more importantly, use your opportunity to indirectly communicate with these decision makers to your advantage. Making a nice tuna salad isn’t that impressive, but if you make a new programme at work that saves your company thousands of dollars, or wrangle in a new enterpriselevel client, then people should know. Toot your own horn. In one survey, 73 per cent of candidates were hired through social media. As long as you don’t go overboard or cross the line into bragging, people will be impressed, and far more likely to turn to you for your expertise. I also recommend using your online social presence as a tool for showcasing your knowledge of the industry you’re a part of -or the industry you’re looking to become a part of -by publishing thoughtful posts on trends, industry news or other relevant topics.
3) USE TECH TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Formal paper resumes are fading away, and in some circles electronic resumes and cover letters are too. It can be helpful to post a resume on LinkedIn, so that people can see a full scope of your professional work, but is that really the best solution?
This is 2016, and with technology at its current level of accessibility, there’s no reason to rely on outdated means of communication if you can step up into the next gen eration. This is why video resumes are becoming more and more popu lar, with nearly 62 per cent feeling one will give them an edge over the competition.
Uploading a two minute video of your self outlining who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re doing next is sure to give you the advantage of differentiating yourself.
When you’re feeling creative, make new content. This can be anything from writing a blog post, to getting work published, or even just cleverly hashtagging a great tweet.If you want to be regarded as an expert in your field, it’s crucial to prove that you can be depended on for detailed, timely, and most of all, helpful advice -then maybe people will start writing to you for personal branding tips too. When you’re someone that other people turn to for information, you’ll find yourself skyrocketing to the top of your business.