Technology has changed the ways in which people are seen, heard, and researched. It used to be that having a resume with a summary of an extensive work history was enough to get a job or promotion. Now, without an online presence, the professional is invisible and lacks enhanced networking capabilities.
What is a brand in the digital age? While the job is what you do, your personal brand is who you are. Personal branding is a term that has become synonymous with how people see you in and outside of the room. It’s more than just a job title, it is something that encapsulates the essence of who you are and what people value most about you. Personal branding is the art of developing a unique value proposition, creating an elevator pitch, and marketing yourself in a way that enables you to stand out in a crowd of thousands. It is a valuable business strategy.
How does a career practitioner create a brand? Developing your stand out resume, LinkedIn profile, and online marketing strategy are the three methods most useful for being seen, heard, and researched. When you see the effectiveness of your own business strategy, you will be able to help your clients create an effective strategy for their career development.
Personal Branding: The Resume
In the pre-digital age era, a resume may have included an objective, a chronology of every workplace, and a bullet point style list of all job functions and responsibilities. Today, a resume is typically viewed and judged in a few short seconds and often hundreds of people are competing for each open position. To gain a competitive edge, a resume must be clear in its target, convey skill sets that align with the job description, and highlight accomplishments that set the job seeker apart from other candidates. This is a daunting task for many job seekers, which is a good reason for seeking the expertise of a career professional. In turn, the career professional relays the personal branding power of the resume to the job seeker, through current knowledge of the best practices in resume writing.
Objectives are no longer used in a resume, and have been replaced with a powerful professional summary that highlights the candidate’s skill sets with effective adjectives and alluring characteristics. Remember, the job seeker’s objective is to find a job, but the professional summary should resonate with who the job seeker is as a professional with high-caliber skill sets. A poorly developed brand will be reflected in a poor professional summary.
It is important to note that the resume is simply one piece of the puzzle. The LinkedIn profile is more compelling than the resume.
Personal Branding: The LinkedIn Profile
The resume is seen by a hand-selected number of people, but the LinkedIn profile can reach over 500+ million users. A LinkedIn profile therefore enhances the job seeker’s ability to get noticed, with the opportunity for rewarding results. Professionals and job seekers today are able to connect with CEOs, top executives, and key decision-makers at companies. Job search boards are said to have a very small response rate in the digital age. Rather than waiting for a response for a job application, through the power of LinkedIn, professionals are able to connect directly with these important people.
Every LinkedIn profile should include a compelling headline, powerful summary, and industry-specific keywords that reveal the core of who you are as a professional and the type of specialized skills you possess. When it comes to creating your LinkedIn summary, it should not be a copy of your resume. There needs to be a synergy between the resume and LinkedIn profile, but don’t reveal all of your secrets. The reason for this is simple: your resume is often being submitted in confidence to a selected audience of prospective employers. By attaching your resume to your profile and posting it on LinkedIn, millions of viewers have access to it, which loses the connectivity to the select audience.
To continue to showcase your brand, your LinkedIn profile summary should chronicle your career story with a humanistic tone and first-person pronouns. The reason for the first-person pronoun summary on LinkedIn is the notion that you are sharing your story and your voice with other people who need to be able to connect with that voice.
Personal Branding: Marketing Strategy
A LinkedIn profile is your online resume, but having a profile shouldn’t be your only stop. You want to be engaged and active on LinkedIn as well. That means sharing articles, posting your own content, and actively networking with other professionals. LinkedIn enables you to spread your influence, your personal brand, and connect with professionals at a deeper level.
Here are a few ways you, as a professional can market yourself on social media, reach out to targeted professionals in your industry, and connect with thought leaders in your profession.
- Curate your own posts so that you garner more visibility and traction.
- Interact with content written by other LinkedIn users.
- Write recommendations for former coworkers, subordinates, or key professionals you have worked alongside.
- Expand your network and connect with professionals outside of your industry.
The toolkit of a resume, LinkedIn profile, and online engagement will help professionals, entrepreneurs, and job seekers propel their personal brand and career in the digital age. Clients often look at the career professional’s social media presence before choosing to hire them. The career professional who has an effective personal brand will be in a position to grow their business and attract clients in this digital age.