Personal Branding has many forms, but what should be included in a personally branded application for those in the early stages of their careers?
The second in a 2-part series, Douglas Ackerman looks at personal branding from the perspective of the job-seeker rather than the employer.
In my last post, we looked at turning the personal branding development process on its head.
Instead of wondering what employers are looking for, we’re looking for employers and opportunities that suit us, meaning that our chances of landing the role are increased.
Developing a personal brand at the beginnings of our professional careers is important and very exciting – it can even be an opportunity to re-invent yourself as the person you aspire to be.
Putting together your personal brand: the fine details
Now we know why we’re taking this altered approach to Personal Branding, take a week or two to build your branded materials. These will include:
- Designed and branded CV (PDF, one side of A4)
- Matching Website, preferably with a blog (WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr, etc)
- Matching relevant social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin)
- A killer email text with language matching your brand.
This is all you need to blast open the doors of opportunity and present yourself as a breath of fresh air to an employer, dragging themselves through dozens of applications at 5pm on a Friday afternoon.
1. What do you enjoy being good at?
You might be the world’s best engineer, but if you don’t want to spend your time at work engineering, don’t add it to your brand. Identify what it is you do which you’re both good at and enjoy doing.
Use this as the basis for your brand.
2. What are you interested in?
Are you mad about Technology? Football? Startups? Journalism? Be honest with yourself, you won’t last long in an industry you hate, so focus only on genuine interests.
This will help you to narrow down what to include in your branded application materials, because an application sent to a newspaper will look very different to an application to a FinTech Startup.
3. Visual Themes
. Research, research, research. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Look at what colours and designs work for other people and ask yourself: why?
For example, if you’re a chilled out kind of person, a visual representation might include soft colours and shapes. If you’re a bit fiery, go for expressive, high-contrast colours and shapes.
4. Branded CV.
The most important part of your personal brand during an application process is the single A4 page presented to your prospective employer.
Spend time and effort combining visual aspects, relevant information and carefully chosen language.
There are plenty of very attractive CV designs available cheaply online which only take a smidgen of design knowledge to alter to your needs.
5. Online Presence
. This includes your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts and Website. Register a domain using your name as the URL and use the online space as your ‘hub’ to collect together your social profiles and CV.
Look for inspirational examples of personal websites which match your area of interest and the ‘brand’ you want to build for yourself.
Get active on social media and interact with people discussing topics you’re interested in. Make sure your profiles visually match your website!
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
. There may be areas of your personal brand which you are not capable to produce to a professional standard, such as design elements. Relax, feel free to ask friends and family for help or even post an ad on freelance sites such as Elance or oDesk.
7. Strive for consistency
. Colours, shapes, language and profile pictures should be consistent right across all your branded application materials. This shows you’ve put real effort into how you’d like potential employers to perceive you and reinforces the brand message you want to convey about yourself.
The method outlined above might seem counterintuitive, but not only will you likely see an increase in responses to your applications, but you’ll also stand a better chance of landing the job too.
Douglas is the Co-Founder and CMO of Starticulate, a communications agency for startups. His enthusiasm for the growing UK tech scene drives a lot of his work, though he’s also a huge Tim Ferriss aficionado! Send him a tweet@douglasackerman
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