Brand Yourself in Your Job Search

It is estimated that the average American will have up to seven careers in their lifetime and spend an average of four years with each employer. This means that whether you are just entering the job market or have been in it for decades, you will most likely have at least a couple job searches in your future. You can have all the credentials, experience, and education in the world, but unless you know how to market yourself it could all be wasted. Just as companies promote and sell their products and services, you have to be equally persistent in selling yourself as a brand. This has never been easier than it is in 2014. Recruiters, social media sites, and the internet have made hiring agents and company personnel more accessible. The problem is, everyone now has these advantages. Here are some tips on how to separate yourself from the masses.

Cover letter and resume

The Ladder released a study in 2012 that stated that hiring managers and recruiters only spend about six seconds looking over a resume before deciding whether to consider an applicant. This means that all the time you spent talking about your achievements for the job you had in 2006 may not even be seen if you do not catch their eye. Instead, focus on selling yourself right off the bat in your cover letter.

  • Personalize your cover letter for each specific job or job type. Potential employers want to know exactly which skills you can bring to the job they are filling.
  • Select three or four key points relating to the job posting and address how your background fits what they said they want from the position.
  • This should go without saying, but keep it professional and grammatically correct. Have someone else proof read it.

Social Media and personal references

An estimated 80% of employees find jobs through referral. Social media has made this process more prominent. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are just a few of the sites job seekers and employers are using to fill jobs. This can be a double-edged sword though. To use these tools to your advantage you need to keep it professional and accurate.

  • Start by updating your professional profiles and headlines. They can act as an online resume and cover letter. They should be full of content and references.
  • Detail the career you want and the type of company you would like to work for. This will help anyone in your network help you find the right job.
  • Lock any personal accounts and keep them separate from professional ones.
  • Be active on your pages. Interact and comment on other professionals’ posts within your network and post high quality, profession related content on your own pages. You can also write blog-like posts about topics within your field. Not only will this help build your network, but also it will highlight your knowledge and show that you are digitally literate; a valuable tool in today’s world, regardless of the job.

Recruiters

Recruiters can be a valuable tool to help you get a foot in the door. They work for the company seeking an employee and generally the company compensates them, meaning job seekers do not have to pay for their services. There are several benefits for using a recruiter.

  • Recruiters already have an established network. Essentially, they take the legwork out of searching for the right job and instead help you find the one that best fits your qualifications. This also usually means you are in a smaller pool of applicants.
  • About half of all senior-level positions are filled with the help of recruiters. If you are already established in your career, recruiters can help you find a parallel job or the next step up for you professionally.
  • Recruiters can help with resume and interview advice and they can provide you with information about a company or job.
  • Recruiters are not paid until the job is filled, so finding a place for you is mutually beneficial. This means they are there to help promote you as a brand.
  • Recruiters are often the first to know about a new opening. This can give you a valuable jumpstart on the competition.

 Internships and freelance work

Internships and freelance work are low risk to the companies but can be that invaluable “in” you need to prove yourself. If you can afford to, seeking these assignments out is recommended, especially if you have little or no experience. This requires you to think about the big picture and long term.

  • Freelance projects are short term, low risk hires but can lead to something permanent. At the very least, you are helping build your portfolio for future jobs, while still getting a paycheck.
  • Internships are much the same as freelance. Some offer pay, but many do not. Again, it is about getting yourself out there, gaining valuable experience, and setting yourself up for a career. According to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, almost 70% of college interns received job offers from the company they interned with.

For most of us, searching for a job is a stressful and tiring process, but by utilizing the tools available and a few tricks along the way, you can make the search a short one. The days of showing up at a company with a job application and resume are almost outdated; however, todays conditions offer perhaps more access to those who do the hiring than ever. For those willing to evolve and adapt, this shift in the job market can be the perfect platform to promote the brand new Brand You.

 

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