When you’re looking for a job, you want whoever you’re meeting to see you as a valuable addition to their team, company or project, or to immediately see the value you will bring to someone in their network of influence..
The process of marketing yourself is about creating a personal brand – a summary of what you’re known for, what you stand for, what you’re best at, what you value, and what people can expect from you.
Here are five personal branding mistakes that could sabotage your job search:
- Not having a LinkedIn profile photo, or using an inappropriate photo. Use a current headshot (head and shoulder view), where you are well groomed and professionally dressed. There should be no one else in the photo.
- Not completing or customizing your LinkedIn profile. Use the LinkedIn wizard that tells you what percentage you’ve completed, and aim for 100%. With a customized profile address (URL), you can easily add it to your resume, cover letter, biography, business card and any other job search marketing collateral..
- Dressing inappropriately for in-person meetings – Dress according to the job you’re after. Conduct due diligence on the potential employer; stand outside the building and watch employees go in and out to see how they’re dressed. Power tip: Do this the day or week before your interview, when you plan your route and practice the drive to make sure you’ll be on time.
- Not being able to articulate your personal brand statement in person or over the phone. What makes you so special that the other person should be compelled to choose you? That is your unique promise of value. You get bonus points for a value statement that is 15, 17 or 19 words, since psychologists claim the mind picks up on odd numbers of words faster than even. Articulate this statement verbally and in all written materials.
- Showing negativity in conversations, both online and in person. Employers hire positive people; not negative people. If you’re struggling to cope with your anger, disappointment or fear about being out of work, share those feelings with a spouse, friend or coach so they don’t come out in meetings with your career influencers.
Your personal brand is the most important thing you bring to all of your job search activities, meetings and interviews. Avoid these common blunders to make the best impression and move ahead with your career goals.