You might not be looking for a job right now, but chances are you will sometime in the future. Before you do, however, you should do everything you can to improve your own personal brand--the image you project to the world.
According to Susan Vitale, CMO at iCIMS, a provider of HR software, "Having a killer personal brand is no longer an option, but a requirement when it comes to landing that job you've always wanted." Here are 5 great ways to improve your brand--and your job prospects as a result.
1. Bother important people
Personal branding is not very effective if no one knows who you are. Make appearances at industry conferences and fairs, and make sure you introduce yourself to all the right people. Do some research beforehand and target the heavy hitters with your charm and thoughtful small-talk. Afterward, direct message your new contact on LinkedIn or through e-mail thanking them for the time they spent talking to you. Being "the guy who sends thank-you notes" is never a bad thing, and will make your face stand out in the sea of other schmoozers from that event.
2. Get ready for your close-up
Technology evolves at an almost uncomfortable rate. Not only are paper resumes very nearly obsolete, electronic text resumes are beginning to fall from fashion as well. Making your name a bigger font on the top of your resume won't do much to make you stand out in the cloud of data most companies are pulling from these days. Instead, consider putting together a video cover letter. Even if the video simply lives on your LinkedIn profile page, this unique way of introducing yourself to prospective employers will give you an edge and let your personality shine through in a way text simply cannot. Have some fun with it, but try not to scare them away!
3. Start blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to put yourself out there. Showcase your knowledge, talents, and skills by writing about what you already know. Easy, right? If you can get a spot on well-known, respected blogs in your field--great! If not, start your own. Help employers better understand your brand with posts about everything from your thoughts on social media marketing campaign best-practices, to how you feel about the new Star Wars movie. Keep in mind, however, that if you commit to blogging, you must continue to post regularly. Otherwise, you can come off as disorganized or unfocused to potential employers.
4. Scrutinize your online presence
If it's online, everyone can see it--including potential employers. In fact, approximately 76% of recruiters say that they always or sometimes perform a Google search on candidates before hiring them, and 40% report finding online information that has disqualified a candidate from consideration. Go through all of your social media profiles and make sure every aspect is complete and what you want prospective employers to know about you. From favorite books to past work experience--it all counts.
5. Go ahead--be a showoff
Some may call it bragging, but the savvy job hunter knows that singing your own praises works to improve and support your personal brand. Complete a big project at work? Post about it. Head up a successful volunteer activity in your community? Post about it. Cook a nice meal for two? Don't post about it. Nothing bothers the masses more than social media over-sharers, especially when your targeted audience is your future boss. Don't forget, your personal brand is a supplement to your resume. Show potential employers you are active in your industry and successful in your endeavors with regular--not obsessive--Twitter posts or LinkedIn updates.