Why is career branding important?
Now that companies are using AI and Big Data to recruit, resumes and cover letters are looking… all the same. Yes, this is on companies for using these tactics to weed out candidates. But this tactic has also aimed a spotlight at just how important understanding who a candidate is and not just what they can do for a company. Career branding shows — not tells — who you are as a candidate and potential employee/coworker.
It’s that special sauce that might just land you an interview (or even the position itself).
Discover who you are
Before you can market yourself to recruiters or potential employers, you need to know who you are.
Yes, we get it. Who knows you better than you?
Unfortunately, we all have major blind spots when it comes to the three people most important in our lives: me, myself, and I. We’re either overly critical of ourselves or fail to see how critically others might see us.
Take a look at your digital footprint. Ask your friends or colleagues (ones you trust) for their opinion. Better yet, ask everyone you know to come up with a word that describes your greatest strength.
Scour your digital footprint
Open a browser window in incognito mode. Search for your name using some basic keywords that recruiters might.
Your name, title, city, state, etc. Check out your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media handles. Discover everything you can about your digital footprint.
What does this say about you? What buzzwords would you use to describe yourself? Are you willing to try new things? Are you able to communicate across cultures? Are you dependable to a fault?
Create mood boards to capture your essence
If you’ve tried any of the above exercises, you’re probably starting to realize how hard it is to capture your “Essence.”
Before you roll your eyes, bear with us!
Your essence is basically how you boil down everything that makes you who you are in just a few words.
Creating a mood board might seem a little… feely? But it’s simply an exercise that can help you capture the spirit of you who you are — both in and out of the office.
Think about the times in your life that you’ve totally “crushed” something. Whether it was an interview or project or even just a day when things went so well that you had no choice but to give yourself a huge pat on the back.
Flip through a few magazines (either online or paper) and try to find a few photos that capture the essence of those moments. Try to aim for what you did, not necessarily how you felt.
Stay true to you
Don’t try to be something you’re not! If you’re not feeling a skill or strength, don’t force it.
The key is to find out who you are and what you want. You don’t want recruiters or potential employers to think that your skills are so basic or interchangeable that you’re interchangeable.
You want to find out who you are so that you can show recruiters just how irreplaceable you are.
Show who you are
Personal branding essentially shows who you are to recruiters — without telling them.
Adding empathy to one of your soft skills on your resume is different from showing recruiters through your personal and professional tweets, Instagram stories, or Facebook posts.
Once you come up with your skills and “essence,” make sure your digital footprint shows who you are.
Market soft skills
Soft skills are becoming extremely important to employers. Your technical skills aren’t the only important skills they’re looking for these days.
The Great Resignation has led to employers redefining their definition of important skills.
If they’re going to invest more money and benefits in workers, they want recruits who aren’t just talented — but also emotionally mature.
Some of the most desirable soft skills are ones that transcend technical knowledge and departments. These skills are valuable cross-company and contribute to the company’s overall branding.
When developing your personal brand, determine which of these soft skills are in your wheelhouse:
Don’t fake it
Just as you can’t “fake it” when you’re discovering your career branding, you shouldn’t fake anything when you’re in the showing phase, either.
When it comes to workplace trends, recruiters and employers (and pretty much everyone else) can spot fakers from a mile away — unless there’s some truth to your fake-out.
Don’t believe you’re the most empathetic person in the world? Just think of a time when you showed empathy (or at least tried to show empathy) to another person. Not everyone shows empathy in the same manner.
Try to come up with a few words that describe your empathetic process. If you get as specific as possible about how and why you’re empathetic (or how or why you embody any other soft skill you’re including in your branding), you’ll show recruiters your empathy instead of just telling them.
Create a digital footprint
When we talk about digital footprints these days, we’re usually referring to something (at least) slightly negative.
Don’t post anything online (even to your friends) you wouldn’t want the whole world to see. Consider everything you post online will last forever. And the cardinal rule of the internet? Don’t post anything after a few drinks.
But what if we took things a step further to look at the positive side of our digital footprints? Everything we do online tells a story about who we are. Our likes (both literal and Facebook), our passions, and our deep thoughts are right there for the world to see.
Instead of fearing the footprint, embrace it. Allow it to tell your story.
If you need help with any of this, you’re not alone. Career branding isn’t easy — especially when you’re too close to the subject. Rise can help you build your personal work brand, one that allows who you really are to shine.