You have one in mind – that dream job that suits our talents, skills, and education. You would be perfect for it and it for you, but how to draw the attention of the recruiter when you find yourself in a virtual sea of people who also have their eye on the prize? The answer is “branding.” Create a personal brand and you can make yourself more visible and more valuable to your audience, in this case to the person doing the hiring for that dream job.
Here are some ways to establish your brand:
Google yourself. If you don’t like what you find, begin searching for ways to remove the information. For a fee, companies like reputation.com will remove negative information. Also, from this day forth, stop putting personal or potentially embarrassing photos or date about yourself on-line. It is a safe assumption that every employer starts their screening process by Googling an applicant.
Update your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t already have a profile, create one. Make sure that besides listing your business and technical skills, it also tells prospective employers why you would be a valuable addition to their team.
Ask for recommendations. Request that your friends and past employers recommend you highly on LinkedIn.
Open a Twitter account. Post interesting tweets showing your industry knowledge (not that you have a new recipe for barbecue – unless you are trying for a job as a chef.) Search for job listing twitter handles and follow them. Create a list on twitter, and you’ve essentially created a job listing repository. Monitor it daily. If you identify influential people in your industry or people who work at the companies you want to work for, pay attention to them. They may list opportunities as well.
Start a blog. Add to it often and with relevant material. Write about subjects that will demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of topics related to your dream job or the industry you’re interested in.
Comment on other blogs. Create your own blog roll (a list of blogs having to do with your industry). Add your comments to discussions being held. With every comment, you are establishing your presence and expertise.
Clean up your act. If your Facebook profile has photos of that wild Vegas weekend, get rid of them. At the very least, adjust your privacy settings so they aren’t visible to potential employers. Replace them with images of you doing charity work or helping with a community project. You get extra points if the photos show some relevancy to the job you are pursuing. (Example: You want to work for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation—volunteer for a day to help clean the Bay).
Get a website. Apply for an easy-to-remember domain name and register it at GoDaddy.com. Have a professional headshot taken and put it, your resume, testimonials, and any other promotional materials about yourself on your site. Ask your web designer to embed your blog right on your web page.
Protect your username. There are some great online resources to search for your username and see where it’s being used. Checkusernames.com is a great example. Seriously consider taking the time to secure your user name on sites across the internet, even if you don’t use every site you register it on.
Begin a relationship with a staffing company. Chose a reputable professional organization like eSearchPro. Explain to them your goals, give (and get) input on your personal brand, let them put in front of the decision makers and help you secure your dream job.