What’s the best way to present yourself when you’re looking for a job? How do you get noticed in today’s fast paced business world?
Once upon a time, it was easy. You would spend a few hours crafting a convincing CV and covering letter to wow your potential employer with, hoping to get invited for an interview and a chance to really sell yourself in person.
My, how times have changed.
These days, a potential employer is more than likely to run your name through Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other relevant online platform. You’d be surprised (shocked perhaps?) at how easy it is to piece together a pretty accurate picture of someone with nothing other than a bit of internet research. Have a go at Googling your own name and see what comes up.
A CV is all very well, but it is, by definition, a fact based historical document. The information contained in it, is simply no longer a sufficient basis for assessment; it doesn’t paint the whole picture. To use hackneyed management speak, it talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.
In our digital, interactive multimedia driven times, the concept of a traditional CV is dated and clumsy; there are far more effective ways to showcase your talents and convince a potential employer that you’re perfect for the job. But in order to succeed, you need to be clear about two important things first.
Who are you?
There’s been much talk in recent years about personal branding – not just for celebrities and high profile professionals, but also for everyone who cares about their professional image. It’s about authenticity and how you present yourself to the world, taking a 360 degree view that goes far beyond the basic realm of the CV.
It’s worth asking yourself a few key questions to see how you can define your own ‘personal brand’ and use it to your advantage.
- What are your passions?
- What are your values?
- What are your goals?
- What are your strengths?
Distilled down, this is the essence of you. In an ideal world, it is what you convey with every written and oral communication and every personal encounter. But is it what people actually associate you with? Like it or not, all of us now have a digital footprint – easily traceable information on the web that shapes opinion about who we are. The trick is to be in control of this image, to manage it so that it accurately reflects your personality and ability – on paper, online and in person. Doing a personal SWOT analysis can help you figure these things out much easily.
Where are you?
You may well be looking for a job, but are you looking in the right place? Are you visible to the right audience? Newspaper adverts, HR consultants and job sites still play their part, of course, but there’s much more you can do to actively promote yourself.
There’s nothing like connecting with valuable industry contacts than meeting the right persons face to face. Business networking starts with a mind set and intention to discover and explore, to be open to new encounters. In other words, people are waiting to meet you! Given the amazing opportunities that could result from just one fruitful encounter, this is one avenue you should definitely pursue.
LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly popular way to connect with other professionals in your field, and that includes potential employers. Don’t just tell them, show them that you are a credible industry player: Keep your profile up to date and your presentation professional, dynamic and relevant. Add recent work projects, certifications, published works and videos. Take part in intelligent conversations, informed discussions and active groups. Get recommendations and endorsements from respected clients and trusted colleagues.
Your presence on Facebook and Twitter can also play an important role. Many companies check job applicants’ online profiles to see whether their personal interests are a ‘corporate culture fit’. And while an active social media presence can show that you’re committed, passionate and in touch, it should come as no surprise that an unadvised tweet or post could easily cost you a job prospect.
A Personal Blog
A blog can be a powerful way to portray what you’re all about. It can enhance your professional image and establish you as a thought leader in your field. It can also give valuable clues as to your personality, beliefs, style, sense of humour and much more. A blog allows you to tell your story in your own inimitable way in a way that a simple CV never could.
What do you think about personal branding?
It’s clear that personal branding through digital media is the new way of alerting potential recruiters that you are qualified for the job. The importance of a CV hasn’t completely been abandoned, yet establishing yourself through digital media channels is a surefire way to win the attention of potential employers.
Do you agree? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with human resources specialist James House HR, who were consulted over the information in this post.