In today’s business world, your personal brand is everything. It is the first impression you leave with colleagues, superiors, partners, clients, and friends. It can make or break your opportunities while opening new doors and potentially shutting others. Most importantly, it is one thing that you have the power to control.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a new career, launching down the path of entrepreneurship, or just wanting to make sure that you are prepared for any new opportunity crossing your path, a strong personal brand can set you apart from the crowd.
Making yourself marketable means that you are “findable.” It also makes you definable and gives you something that allows people to understand what you are about.
Ready to make yourself more marketable and attractive? Here are three super easy but highly effective ways to get yourself started:
1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence
In today’s digitally-forward business environment, your LinkedIn page is truly your virtual resume. It will often be one of the initial points of contact with a potential employer, of which will certainly check out your past skills and education. So it is important that you take the time to make your profile impressive.
Simply entering in your past jobs and a few skills won’t cut it if you want to stand out. While it seems completely unfair (and maybe impossible) to express all of your best qualities on your LinkedIn page, it is still necessary to do if you are going to make yourself marketable. Take the time to talk about what you really did in all of your past work positions.
What did you learn? What were your main responsibilities? What aspects of those positions are most relevant to the type of work you want to do in the future?
Nicole Strecker, the managing director of a large recruitment agency, put it best when she said, “Most people spend so much time crafting their pitch, they forget about how they appear in a search result. It’s the first thing that recruiters look at.”
This means that it’s super important that you optimize your use of keywords throughout your profile. LinkedIn even offers a guide to help you find the best buzzwords to communicate your qualities and skills to recruiters. Do your research and see what types of skills and keywords are trending on the job market and be sure to incorporate them accordingly.
“The best way to start connecting with everyone is to import your entire contact list and ask them all to connect with you…once you start receiving 10-20 inbound invitations to connect on a daily basis, then you know your doing a good job marketing yourself.” – Lewis Howes
2. Flex Your Strengths
It’s one thing to say what you’re good at, but it’s another thing to show it. While you may consider yourself a great speaker, writer, or leader, it won’t mean much to other people if you don’t have the content proof to back it up.
While it certainly takes time to establish yourself as a thought leader or build up a following on social media that “proves” your expertise, there is no reason why you can’t get started today. You can easily launch a blog to share some of your writing pieces on whatever your strengths are, or you can start a video channel on YouTube.
You can even reach out to niche blog websites and submit content for publication to start building your name’s searchability (a huge part of making yourself more marketable).
Of course, social media plays a huge role in thought leadership and personal branding these days – as those platforms are excellent tools for reaching wide audiences. But, they can also be highly influential in your professional career. In fact, 70% of recruiters admit that they do look into candidate’s social media activity when considering them for a position. Be sure that your social presence is beneficial to your personal brand.
3. Take Industry-Specific Online Courses
Your education shouldn’t stop after you get your diploma. While you certainly don’t need to have an exhaustive list of degrees to succeed as a thought leader or an entrepreneur, the important thing to remember is that you should never stop learning.
There are plenty of online resources that can help you stay up-to-date with the latest technology and advances in your industry or help you discover new areas of interest. You can even check out some informative videos on YouTube to see if anything piques your interest.
If you prefer a more traditional classroom environment, you can contact local universities or community colleges and see if you can sit in on lectures, or ask about free educational workshops they may offer.
An ambitious learner is extremely attractive to recruiters and professionals. Plus, adding a list of certifications and course completions can certainly boost your resume and provide you with even more skills to market yourself with.
“Shall I tell you a secret of a true scholar? It is this: every man I meet is my master in some point and in that I learn from him.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You need to make your personal brand marketable if it is going to attract opportunities, just like you would with a business. Make sure that you are offering a remarkable and memorable first impression with a LinkedIn profile that accurately reflects what you have to offer. Establish your reputation online by making your skills and strengths highly marketable through published content on personal and professional websites. And finally, never stop learning. There are plenty of ways to keep your skillset sharp and learn new things.
Your personal brand could be the vehicle that propels you towards your goals. But you have to remember that success doesn’t just come to those who patiently sit and wait for it; you need to take action.
Do you have any tips on how to build your personal brand? Share them with us below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com