Personal Branding Fixes That Can Help You Land the Job

Everybody has a personal brand, but not everyone recognizes just how powerful their brand is. Making the most of your personal brand might be just what you need to boost your career and help you stand out from the crowd. The best part about your personal brand is that you largely have control over it, and with the right investment you can shape your brand however you choose.

Social media and a culture with a focus on sharing means that our personal lives are more visible than ever before, blurring the lines between work and home. It can be tough to keep up with the many aspects of your brand when they are spread across the web. The gig economy ups the ante for young professionals as well, since many are entering the workforce as freelancers or on contract and need to actively market themselves to potential employers.

Like it or not, your brand is out there. If you’re not managing the way you’re perceived, you’re handing off opportunities to others that are. Kirsten Hamilton, CEO of Koru, shared with Earnest: “Employers get so many applications and they don’t have a signal for quality. They can’t really draw out the best candidates and they all start looking the same.” A well-managed brand can be that signal for quality.

While it would be simple to manage our personal brands if they only extended to the areas we’d like them to, the reality is a little more complicated. You have to think about the big picture to know you’re controlling all aspects of how you’re viewed professionally.

We’ll cover some tips for making sure your personal brand is working to help you land your dream job, including some quick and easy fixes that can make a big impact on your prospects.

Online Presence

By now, you’ve probably gotten word that it’s important to be aware of what you share on social media. Controversial opinions and pics from last weekend’s party can obviously impact your chances of getting the next job, but there are some less obvious ways you can hurt your brand online without knowing it.

In today’s job market, a little creativity can go a long way in your outreach efforts. Social media can be a great resource to get in front of professionals you want to connect with. “Not only do you probably have a large group of contacts that would potentially see a post about how you’re looking for a job, but you can also find job opportunities by following the social media pages for companies you might be interested in working with, on local classified pages, and just through word of mouth from people on your friends and following lists,” shares a resource from UEI College. Used right, social media could be your key to getting past the gatekeeper at your dream job.

Review your profiles and email etiquette to check for these common blunders:

Nix Inconsistencies: It might not seem like a big deal if your resume on LinkedIn doesn’t match up with the official document version you’re sharing with potential employers, but if you’re on the hunt for a job, it’s worth it to make sure all of the information you share with your professional network matches up. Just like in marketing, successfully communicating your brand depends on consistency. Employers don’t want to be confused by information that doesn’t match up, so take an hour or two and get your profiles in order.

• Be Your Own Editor: If it’s public facing, keep it PG-13 and typo-free. Show that you can use proper grammar and punctuation on social media so professional connections don’t have to question your mastery of language, even on your personal pages. Generally, profanity won’t do you any favors either, so think twice next time you’ve got a strongly worded sports rant lined up to share on your timeline.

• Follow Up: You got turned down for a gig or took up another offer, but that doesn’t mean you can cut off the conversation yet. Always follow up, even when the news isn’t good or you don’t necessarily need to. It leaves a great impression to go out of your way to say thanks and make the effort to build a good rapport with professional contacts. You never know what opportunities might open up down the road either.

Looking the Part

It’s common advice, but it shouldn’t be overlooked: always dress for the job you want, not the job you have. The way you dress is one of the biggest factors to consider when it comes to first impressions and how others perceive you. “Your packaging is the outward-facing communication you give to those around you, including your clothing, hair/makeup, accessories, etc. Just like any brand, your “packaging” should be purposeful and determined,” shares Entrepreneur writer Jim Joseph. Looking professional doesn’t mean you have to look boring — there are plenty of ways to incorporate some personal style into your work attire.

It’s important to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and professional. Having your own look can help you stand out from the crowd in a great way as long as it’s well executed and helps your brand. There are a couple of things to keep in mind that can help you look the part. Look out for these things that tend not to work well in professional settings:

Mind the Fit: Wrinkles, wrong sizes and holes are always don’ts. Always make sure your clothes are clean and in good shape, no matter what you decide to wear. There’s lots of room for flexibility when it comes to workplace fashion today as long as you show you’ve put a little effort into your outfit.

• Consider Your Clothes: You should feel comfortable dressing however makes you feel best, but it’s always worth considering what your clothes are telling other people about you. We send many messages about who we are with the clothes we wear. It can help to practice some basic color theory and consider the patterns and textures of your clothing to build a wardrobe that’s versatile and looks sharp. When you’re buying new clothes, try considering if they will work well with the other clothes you have. This can help you be sure you’re always looking your best — you never know who you’ll run into.

Body Language

Nonverbal communication plays a big role in determining how other people read you. If you’re not aware of your body language, it can be easy to slip into bad habits. Keeping your nonverbal cues in mind can be enough to help you leverage them to your advantage.

When you’re focused on acing interview questions or making a good impression at a meet and greet, your body language isn’t always the first thing on your mind. Plus, nerves can make you seem closed off or bring out ticks. The goal is to seem naturally calm and confident in yourself, and it’s not hard to achieve with a little practice. Try these tricks to help give off good vibes at your next networking event or interview:

Stay Loose: Acting comfortable is a great way to trick yourself into feeling comfortable. Next time you’re feeling nervous before a work function, practice consciously relaxing your body to help you look and feel more confident. After a while, it will start to feel natural.

• Keep it Together: Have control of your personal items. Reduce what you carry to professional events as much as possible, so you can keep your hands free and mingle comfortably. Carrying big bags or lots of small items around with you is distracting — keep everything contained in a small bag or briefcase, if necessary.

• Look Like a Friend: Keep your body language open and friendly. Remember that if you look friendly, people are much more likely to approach you and connect. Stand tall and be aware of things like crossing your arms, which can make you look more closed off. It’s easy to make conversation with someone who looks like they want to talk.

As you take some time to consider your personal brand, it can help to let your overall career goals guide your critique. Goals make it easier to determine if you’re on the right track, and you’re more likely to succeed if you have a clear goal to work towards. Take a page from marketers and compare your band with competition that you consider successful. It’s not always easy to manage your brand, but a great professional reputation can be what it takes to help you catch the eye of valuable professional connections.

Victoria Roseberry

I'm a writer and recent graduate who's looking to grow my portfolio and gain some experience. I enjoy writing on consumer psychology, marketing tips, and how technology influences health. My strength is in writing actionable how-to guides for marketing.

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