Q: I hear all this information about personal branding and branding yourself as a candidate. Branding is now a job search technique? Can you explain this to me?
A: Great question. I consulted Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future and Founder of Millennial Branding, to help me better answer your question. According to Schawbel, “Personal branding is about discovering what makes you special and unique in the marketplace and then communicating that, through multiple mediums, to the right people. By using your distinct personality, publishing content related to your expertise on blogs and social networks, and connecting with as many professionals as you can, you will have a leg up in the job search process. Think of the internet as the new global talent pool. It’s not just about searching for a job anymore. It’s about recruiters finding you on search engines and social networks based on the visibility you create from the content you publish. Nearly 90 percent of companies are recruiting on social networks and 64 percent have hired through a social network this year (source: Jobvite.com).”
According to Schawbel, you may want to create a “personal branding toolkit,” which includes profiles on the main social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+), in addition to your own website (yourfullname.com), and a business card. Schawbel recommends “constantly and prolifically communicate your brand through your networking profiles, events, forums, speaking engagements, and more.”
Schawbel and I agree on the importance of LinkedIn when it comes to launching a search for a new opportunity. A complete and robust LinkedIn profile is important. Growing your LinkedIn network is important too. LinkedIn is a good forum for sharing your expertise with others. There is an incredible amount of business intelligence shared on LinkedIn. Although LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, it does not replace the old-fashioned in-person networking and relationship building. It is an incredibly helpful tool to connect (and re-connect) with contacts new and old.