Your personal brand is you! Uncover it, and stick to it. Here are some tools that will help you initiate excitement in your product as you go through an executive career transition.
- Web presence – Have you Googled yourself lately? So many people are unaware that their presence on the internet can be damaged by one improper photograph or a single thoughtless comment. This type of digital dirt can instantly eliminate you from a job opportunity. As an online career management expert, I suggest you Google “your name” (the quotation marks tell Google to look for the exact match, versus random results that may contain both your first and last name) frequently, preferably once a week, to see how you are faring in that big wide web world. If there are any issues, consider seeking help from a career expert who can minimize the damage of your digital dirt.
- Consistent story – Your career management involves you being scrutinized by many stakeholders. They could be executive recruiters, human resource professionals, or even your future boss or their boss. When they view you across multiple online platforms, they all want to see that you are consistent in your brand acknowledgement and delivery, i.e., the same profile picture, the same verbiage and content, and nothing that distorts or damages your brand.
- Resume and cover letter – Support your brand with a performance-driven resume and cover letter. These two documents can be the foundation for a hiring decision. Ensure that your personal brand is clearly and consistently displayed on your resume and cover letter, through your choice of font, spacing, value proposition, and accomplishment-based statements. Be sure you’re using an up-to-date resume format.
- Business card – In today’s highly-networked society where the bulk of job leads are secured through networking, a striking and professional business card is a must. Strive to stand out with a quality card and a two-colour design. Utilize both sides of the card, and again ensure that your personal brand is clearly displayed.
- Website – With the advent of content management systems, commonly used for blogs and websites, it’s very easy to design and build your own simple website even if you’re not technically-minded. This provides you with a platform to tell compelling stories about your career history as you navigate through career transition. It also allows you to market yourself as an authority and gain traction with Google.
- Social media – Without active engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, your career management efforts will be severely diminished. Social media sites all carry a high ranking in Google. The first thing a recruiter, HR professional or other decision makers will do is Google your name. If they don’t find a LinkedIn profile in the search engine results, they will search for you on LinkedIn. Ensure that all your social media profiles are consistent, and that the content is compelling enough to entice a reader to want to know more about you.
- Wardrobe and handshake – We make our first impressions within a few split seconds of meeting somebody in person. Being unkempt in your appearance and poise is not acceptable as you embark on a career transition. Your wardrobe must be professional and suited to your desired job title and industry. Another key component of an initial introduction is a memorable handshake, supported by a smile and solid eye contact.
Ultimately, the most important branding activity is to have a professional web presence, because before they even have your resume or cover letter, future employers are trolling the web looking for YOU.