Like it or not, there are hundreds of other candidates desiring the same jobs that you're applying for. What's worse is that they look just like you on paper. The problem most job seekers have is struggling to stand out, so if you're able to sell your personal brand to the employer then you have a competitive advantage.
You're probably asking, "Do I have a personal brand?" The answer is 100% yes. We all have a brand! We all have passions, skills, characteristics, hobbies, and unique qualities that make us who we are. The hard part is building that brand into something recognizable to employers.
Think about any big brand. Let's take Geico for example. What do you absolutely know about them? For starters, all of their commercials are hilarious, or at least entertaining. Then there's the gecko - their clever, sometimes funny, and possibly annoying mascot. And everyone knows their famous slogan - 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
Right, so that's a gigantic company, with years of building a brand, and quite a load of cash to build it. Luckily for you, money isn't needed and you have time to start building your brand.
5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
1. Google Yourself: What do you find? Something good? Something bad? Are there old tweets or embarrassing Facebook posts that you can delete? Do you have a professional Linkedin profile set up? Having a presence online is a great thing, but try to keep everything consistent with your résumé and application. You don't have to be 150% professional online, but be aware of what employers will find about you and ask yourself if that's how you want to be perceived.
2. Know What Sets You Apart: More importantly, know how to communicate this. And even more important than that is communicating that everywhere. Explain what sets you apart on the résumé, on the cover letter, on your online social profiles, and on your blog if you have one.
3. Start a Blog: If you didn't find much about you online when you googled yourself then starting a blog is the best thing. Use your blog to discuss important articles or research in your field. You can talk about major projects you worked on at YTI Career Institute. It's also OK to talk about personal matters and hobbies, since these make up your personal brand as well. Again, just keep in mind that people will find this, so paint the picture you want them to view.
4. Attend Industry Related Events & Network: Knowing important trends and important people in your industry all helps build a personal brand. Being able to mention these events and people in interviews or even in cover letters when making sense proves your passions and interests.
5. Ask Yourself the Right Questions: Do you truly know who you are? Have you mapped out your personal brand? Look yourself in the mirror and identify what your true passions are and why you want to work in the program that you've entered. Once you do this, then everything else should fall into place.
Try to remember that you already have a personal brand, now it's time to use it to your advantage. Good luck and have fun with it!