In today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to stand out in the crowd. For recent graduates just entering the work force, a personal brand is a great way to show the world who you are and what valuable services or skills you have to offer. Building a personal brand online is a highly effective way to market yourself if it’s done with care, and it could end up being your ticket to a very rewarding career.
Find Your Niche
Before you can even begin to create your personal brand, you need to know what it is. Who are you? What would you like people to know about you? What is your area of expertise? Once you have answered those questions, make sure you can back them up. A personal brand will only be successful if it’s built upon honesty and trust– you need the perception that people have of you to match the perception you have of yourself. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and most of all, be real.
Create a Resume
Once you know what your goals and intentions are, you can begin the process of building your personal brand. The first thing you should do is create a resume, complete with a cover letter and references. Because you are going to be branding yourself online, you need to have a resume online in addition to a printed one. VisualCV is an excellent online tool that you can use to create your resume, and it’s an easy way for employers or clients to find you. Tools such as this one allow you to incorporate all sorts of media into your resume including audio, video, and pictures–and you can create a few different versions of your resume in order to protect some of your personal information if it will be posted on your website or a social networking site.
Build a Personal Website or Blog
Having your own personal website or blog will not only make it easier for people to find you, it will give you a chance to tell your story. In order to really connect with people, you should personalize your site in a tasteful and professional manner. Post a picture of yourself and tell your audience who you are and how you got where you are today. Let your audience know what your expertise are, and back it up with factual information. What you write should exude confidence, but not come across as boastful. Your web address should contain your name or the name of your company or business, and your website should be appealing to the eye yet simple in design. Be sure to incorporate your resume and a portfolio of your work into your website or blog so that potential employers or clients can view your background and your work. You need to make a great first impression. Because of advancements in technology, many first impressions are formed in the virtual world!
Use Business and Social Networks
Don’t be afraid to market yourself using online networks. Creating profiles on both business and social networks can help get you noticed and they are excellent word-of-mouth platforms. Happy clients or customers often tell others, and sites like Facebook and Twitter can help them spread the good word. Although online networks can serve as very valuable advertising and networking resources, be careful. Adjust privacy settings on your profiles to prevent embarrassing photos or comments from showing up unexpectedly. Using these sites for branding purposes requires you to maintain a level of professionalism that doesn’t falter. What people think of you can change in a heartbeat if they see something on your profile that is vulgar or offensive. If used wisely, popular networking sites will help you create a name for yourself.
Establishing business connections and relationships does take time, but if you are passionate about what you do, people will begin to notice. By creating your own unique and personal brand that you whole-heartedly believe in, you will have the opportunity to show the world that you are a true leader in your field.
Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes about identity theft prevention for IdentityTheft.net.