Once upon a time, a very long time ago in Internet years, I wrote a webinar and publication on finding your next job with social media. I stumbled over it recently while cleaning up one of my archives. While lots of the individual pieces are badly out of date, the work as a whole is still relevant. This series is a new version of the old stuff, modernized for today.
Packaging Your Brand
Tour work experience and education are the engine of your career. Like any car, an engine is not enough. We must provide the exterior, the polish, the beautiful design to make the car appealing. True, an underpowered car isn’t fun to drive, but no one wants to sit directly on an engine, either.
Packaging your brand means putting your story in containers, “giving it handles” for people to take, to carry, to share.
To have an effective personal brand, we’ll need four assets: story, image, media, and credentials.
We covered story in the previous part; we need a short, medium, and long version for different environments.
- You’ll use the 140 character version for things like social media biographies.
- You’ll use the 2-3 paragraphs for cover letters, introductions, and the start of your LinkedIn profile.
- You’ll use the full page version in speeches, interviews, and blog posts.
A clean, professional-looking headshot is a must in today’s digital world. If you own a smartphone, you can take a decent professional-looking headshot without necessarily hiring a professional photographer (though you do tend to get what you pay for). For more information how to take your own professional selfie, read this blog post.
The third type of asset you’ll need to collect is media. This can be video, audio, or presentations.
- Do you have a video of yourself speaking at an event?
- Do you have presentations or slides you’ve made?
- Do you have photos of your work?
- Do you have photos or videos of charitable work you’ve done?
- Do you have published works, such as articles, blog posts, books, etc.
The point of media assets is to paint a much bigger portrait of yourself. We want to show our talents in as many diverse ways as possible.
The final asset type we need are credentials. These are any kind of certifications, endorsements, or validations of who we are as professionals, ranging from simple endorsements and testimonials on social networks to formal professional certifications and awards. Again, as with media, we want as many credentials as possible.
What if you don’t have any credentials? Go get some!
- Ask colleagues for recommendations or testimonials.
- Ask customers, if you’re customer-facing (and it’s appropriate to do so).
- Take some courses online and obtain certifications in your profession.
- Write for local publications or industry blogs.
- Submit your work for industry awards.
Why do we collect so much stuff? We want to take advantage of stacking heuristics. Heuristic thinking is a technology term which means thinking with algorithms, thinking by making snap judgements. When we’re job hunting, we’re often dealing with either machines or humans who are so strapped for time and resources that they can’t give us more than a tiny slice of their attention. When we pile up items like video, awards, certifications, etc., we take advantage of those attention slices.
A machine algorithm looking for specific keywords in our LinkedIn profile, for example, stands a better chance of finding those keywords in our many awards and presentations than if we lack those items.
An HR person making a snap judgement as they cull through hundreds of resumes should make a judgement in our favor if they see a long list of our awards, publications, white papers, etc.
Next: Asset Deployment
In the next post in the series, we will step through the various places where you must have these assets deployed, such as websites, social media profiles, etc.
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