Guest post by Derin Clark
There is no getting away from the fact that the job market is still tough, especially for graduates and school leavers.
The days when you could leave university and walk straight into a good job are, for most people, gone and not coming back anytime soon.
Today you’re going to have to compete for every job advertised.
Nearly all job hunters, whether they are fresh out of school or have years of experience behind them, have to stand out against the competition to secure a job. It is no longer good enough to make sure your CV is accurate, concise and error-free, or that you turn up to interviews on time and dressed professionally – this is the minimum expected.
Potential employers looking for most than this; they are interested in how you portray yourself on social media, how you network and what your professional persona is. They are essentially looking at how you brand yourself.
By branding yourself effectively you will be able to get your professionalism and personality across to future employers. It will enable them to get a good idea of who you are and how you work and make a judgement about whether you will fit into their corporate culture.
Branding is something celebrities and politicians have been doing for years. They will spend small fortunes on hiring image consultants and publicists to ensure they project the right impression to fans and potential voters. As you probably don’t have a small fortune to spend below are some tips that will help you ensure you create a professional and employable image.
Getting your personality across is the key to good self-branding. Many people going for a job will have similar skills, qualifications and experience as you, so it is often your personality that will be the key to whether you’re hired or not.
Most companies will create their own brand on social media, their own sites and through email marketing campaigns. can project your personality through your appearance, social network usage, even by what you include on your CV. Always keep in mind the type of personality you want to project, for example if you are looking for a job within a creative industry you would probably want to show your creativity and curiosity, whereas if it an accountancy job you will more likely want to express your reliability and consistency.
Once you’ve decided how you want to be viewed, you should ensure that you keep this consistent. There is no point in being creative on your Facebook page, but not backing this up on Twitter. Alternatively, if you want to come across as someone who is serious and who can be trusted with important accounts, you should not turn up to a job interview wearing a Micky Mouse tie.
Social media has revolutionized the job market. Future employers can (and will) find out about you through looking at your social media updates. LinkedIn was specifically created to help employees network and get their qualifications and experience across to potential employers.
It is vital that you ensure that every post you make on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn confirms the brand you have created for yourself. If you are branding yourself as a reliable and trustworthy person then constantly posting apologies for letting people down will make you look untrustworthy.
It is also worth noting that you should be careful about posting negative and offensive comments on social media. A lot of the time these are, or can be, spread into the public domain meaning that everyone will see them, including future employers and co-workers.
People are judged by their looks. You might not agree with it, but this is a fact. No matter how professional, well qualified or experienced you are if you walk into an interview looking scruffy and uninterested you will probably not get a job offer.
Even if the place you are applying for is relaxed, make sure you turn up looking professional and keen. Often wearing a suit, especially if you are female, to an interview can look outdated, particularly if you are applying for a young, forward-thinking media job. On the other hand some companies prefer staff to look smart at all times.
To get it right you are going to make a judgement about the type of company you are applying for, as well as the sort of image you want to project to your interviewers.
The companies with strong brands often succeed because people believe that the brand is authentic. Customers do not like to feel that they are being duped so if, for example, a clothing company builds a brand around being ethical it will lose all credibility if customers discover it uses sweatshops in India.
To make sure the brand you have created of yourself is authentic you need to ensure you don’t lie or make false claims about yourself. Instead you want to give a true and positive reflection of your personality and professionalism.