Turn on the TV, flip open a magazine, click on an Internet site, and prepare to be bombarded with brands. By establishing images and messages that uniquely identify them to consumers, manufacturers and providers of services build brand recognition. This recognition is vital to selling their wares to the widest possible markets. Take a valuable lesson from these vendors if you actively seeking employment: brand yourself! By taking your job search several steps farther than simply posting your resume and cover letter to online job sites, you can construct and control an image of yourself attractive to potential employers.
Use social networking sites like Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn to create professional profiles as well as communicate with business associates and friends who may be able to assist you in your job search. If you are seeking gainful employment, know that what you “publish” will be scrutinized by those who make hiring decisions. Inflammatory language, misspellings, and errors in grammar and punctuation will not bode well with employers. Keep your posts courteous and professional.
Compile a portfolio, either virtual or physical, to illustrate your talents and achievements. For example, an interior designer’s portfolio would consist of before and after photographs of rooms that she has envisioned and designed; a teacher’s portfolio can highlight lesson plans as well as letters of commendation from students, parents, and school administrators.
Portfolios can also take the form of articles that are published on article websites or on your own blog or personal website. This type of portfolio is useful for establishing yourself as an industry professional and/or a private individual knowledgeable in and articulate about current events and/or your unique avenues of interest.
Don’t neglect to design and utilize business cards. Even if you are unemployed, the fact that you took the time and care to do this speaks volumes about your self-image and career-minded attitude.
Your appearance should go without saying, but from long experience, we are compelled to say it. You have heard that people judge you within the first thirty seconds of meeting you; it’s simply human nature. Make the most of those thirty seconds and the minutes that follow. The standard interview-appropriate uniform consists of a suit and sensible shoes, both of which should be in excellent condition. However, you can promote your brand with small, individual touches such as a tasteful pin, a neat handkerchief, and a hairstyle that maximizes your features and projects “professional.”