These days, if you want to stand out to an employer, you’ve got to have more to offer than a fancy resume listing off your skills and experience. With all of the available creative tools out there, everyone can design an appealing resume. So when an employer has a stack of resumes that are all essentially the same sitting on their desk, you’ll need something extra to make you stand out.
Essentially, you’ve got to think like a start-up trying to build its brand. You need to establish a brand voice and style to tell your story and set yourself apart from the rest, you need a well-designed website, a network of connections, appealing digital content, and a social media presence. Not everyone is going to go that extra mile to provide these things to a potential employer, so if you do, it can mean moving your resume from a “maybe” to the top of the pile.
1. Define Your Personal “Brand”
To start, you’ll need to consider all of the things that make you different before “presenting” yourself. Defining your personal brand is all about determining your unique value and then using the other tips below as a way to market and showcase your brand and what you have to offer.
Creating a personal brand, or any brand, is about more than appearance. Of course, appearance is part of it – like how you dress and what your website looks like – but to truly succeed you’ve got to dig deeper to make an impact. Don’t just consider how you see yourself, but how others see you as well. What do your friends and co-workers see as your strengths? How would they define you?
Beyond your identity, what are your goals and your priorities? Having a clearly defined path for yourself goes a long way towards showing potential employers how dedicated and determined you are. It’s also helpful to identify your target “audience”. Who can benefit most from what you have to offer, or in other words, what types of jobs are best for you? You don’t want to waste your time applying to everything and anything if, in the end, it’s not going to be a good match.
2. A Portfolio Website
No brand is complete without a website. There is no excuse for not having a good portfolio website with all the free web design tools readily available. It doesn’t take much to design a simple yet attractive and informative site to market yourself to employers.
You want an engaging and attractive site, but don’t go overboard. Stick to minimalist visuals and use things like text, color, and layout to make it pop and showcase your portfolio of work. You’ll also want to make sure it’s easy to navigate and doesn’t take forever to load. When they’ve got a million other things to do, no recruiter or hiring manager is going to waste their time trying to find relevant content or wait around for pages or elements to load.
Networking is crucial these days if you want to have a successful career. It’s important to have connections that can support you in your career path and where you want to go. Networking not only offers you a support system and others to bounce ideas off of and work with, but it also shows potential employers that you aren’t afraid to put yourself out there and get things done. Networking is essentially like creating a resource library that you can dip into when you need to, and it also creates avenues for new opportunities by helping you stand out.
4. Social Media
Social media is a great way to network and communicate your personal brand to potential employers. If you have concerns about sharing too much of your personal life, it’s fairly easy to maintain separate accounts—one for more personal content and one that showcases your “brand.” This will give employers a better idea of who you are and what unique offerings you will bring to the team.
Social media is also a great way to show off your content creation skills, especially if you want to work in a creative field. However, anyone can benefit from having good content, no matter what industry they work in. Make sure you are using the best tools available to edit your content to put your best foot forward when it comes to creating attractive and engaging photos and videos.
Master the Interview
Showcasing your personal brand through online content is one thing; defining it in person during an interview is another. The “what makes you unique?” or “why should we hire you?” questions are very standard in most interviews, and while getting asked this same thing over and over again might make you want to roll your eyes, there’s a reason employers continue to ask it.
These two questions are ultimately a way to understand what your personal brand is. However, employers aren’t asking this to simply be told why or how you’re different, but because they want to know how what you have to offer in particular can help them with challenges and obstacles they are facing and looking to overcome in their industry. Companies are always looking for ways to expand, improve, and grow their business, and one way they do this is by hiring new employees that can benefit them and help them reach their goals.
Thus, it is your job during an interview to not only show off your brand and your skills but to show them how you especially can help them improve. So before the interview, it’s helpful to do a bit of research on the company. What do they already have going for them, and what challenges are they facing? If you can prove that you can bring something new to the table that will benefit them, it will significantly increase your chances of landing the job.