Are you looking for a new job? If so, you’re not alone. A recent study of 17,000 workers in the United States found that up to 71% would like to have a new job with a new employer (1). Today’s working professional needs to do more than ever before to stand out among the millions of job seekers in the market. Do you know how to separate yourself from the pack of 115 million people (which is what 71% of the current labor force equates to) (2)?
For many hard-working professionals, the answer lies in branding. This doesn’t mean that you need to dress up as Ronald McDonald and talk about how much you’re “loving it” at your next job interview. A personal brand, like its corporate counterpart, helps define you to your audience – the companies to which you’re applying. A strong brand will make you memorable to hiring managers and company leaders, distinguishing you as a unique and valuable individual among dozens or hundreds of competing job seekers.
One valuable outcome of career coaching is that you’ll be able to define your personal brand and convey it with confidence when you need to make a good impression. Let’s take a look at how we can help you to brand yourself successfully.
Create your mission statement
Every business has a mission statement and you should have one too.
A mission statement is simply a summary of the goals and values of an individual or organization. It helps to define you and your work to the world. When someone asks you “what do you do?”, you can say something like “well…I fix computers,” or you can offer a compelling mission statement like “I help organizations work more efficiently” or “I build systems that help Fortune 500 companies connect to the world.” It not only tells people what you have done, it also indicates what you want to continue doing in the future.
One great strategy for developing your mission statement is to force yourself to honestly answer these four questions (3):
- What do I do?
- How do I do it?
- Who do I do it for?
- What value(s) do I bring to what I do?
A good career coach can help you zero in on answers you’ll want to offer and can help you polish your delivery. We want you to be able to give your answers clearly and confidently – whether you’re at a cocktail party or in a room with the executives who might soon become your bosses.
Optimize your LinkedIn presence
Let’s face it – the days where you could show up at a downtown office with your resume in hand and expect to land a good job are long gone. Today’s successful professionals are on LinkedIn and successful HR managers have made LinkedIn an integral part of their hiring strategies. By optimizing your LinkedIn profile around your personal brand, you can give yourself a head start in the competition for a great job.
LinkedIn is more important for some professions than others — if you’re in sales or marketing, you’ll definitely want to put your best digital foot forward — but everyone can benefit from a well-maintained LinkedIn presence. This involves choosing high-quality profile pictures, crafting a strong headline (you can even use your mission statement here), presenting your work history clearly and with an eye to quantifiable contributions and filling out your roster of endorsements and recommendations.
You might not want to hear it, but an active posting and updating strategy often pays dividends on LinkedIn. The best way to get noticed is to create interesting content that your network will enjoy. These updates don’t have to be extremely long or detailed, as many of the most popular LinkedIn posts offer brief commentary on viral videos or important news relating to the poster’s skills and experience. Offering worthwhile content and commentary (especially if it’s targeted at the field where you’d like to find your next job), can establish you as a trusted authority and give recruiters and hiring managers another reason to move you to the top of the pile.
Don’t forget your ABCs, either: Always Be Connecting! Join industry groups and communities to find like-minded professionals in your field, and don’t be afraid to send out personalized connection requests to everyone you think might be receptive. Many LinkedIn pros have thousands of connections, and even more reserved LinkedIn users are liable to be open to your request if you show genuine consideration for them and their work. If it’s all about who you know, a larger network can only help you in your search.
Improve your pitch
Are you a salesperson? Yes, you are. Your job title doesn’t matter. When you’re out there looking to move up the career ladder, you are a salesperson – and the product you’re selling is yourself.
A mission statement and an improved LinkedIn profile are good steps, but you’ll have to sit down and talk to the people who might hire you – and they’ll want more than a one sentence mission statement. Many career coaches have experiences on both sides of the table in interview situations, and they know how a job seeker should present themselves to make a convincing “sale” for their candidacy. That involves knowing how to present your experience and accomplishments and being able to anticipate and answer some common but tricky interview questions.
Career coaching often starts by helping you understand your goals, but millions of other people know what they want, too. Your personal brand needs to align with your career aspirations and accentuate the best parts of your personality. You need to be able to deeply believe in your own brand and the promise it holds for your next employer. It’s only when you’ve reached alignment and believe your own branding that you can effectively convey your unique value to those who might hire you – so they won’t even want to interview anyone else. Career coaching can help you get to this point.
Your personal brand should reflect your values as well as your ambitions, and these values can involve non-career considerations as well. For example, if it’s particularly important to build a stable family life for your young children, you may want to emphasize your dependable nature and focus your search on businesses in the area. On the other hand, if you crave adventure and new experiences, you might want to align your branding with a willingness to travel and focus on finding jobs that involve relocation, like the ten professions on this list. Working with an experienced career coach can help you gain clarity about these types of additional goals – which is the first step necessary to achieve them.
We can help you put all the pieces together – so you can build and present a personal brand that your next employer won’t want to pass over. When looking to land your dream job, having a qualified career coach in your corner gives you a very real edge over the sea of other applicants.
With the challenges in today’s job market, why go it alone? A small investment in coaching can yield huge dividends, as it can enable you to snag that position which you’ve always dreamed of having. With such a lucrative and satisfying potential reward at stake – the time to take action to achieve your career goals is today.
Written by a guest blogger: Jason Mueller