Personal Branding Without Purpose: A Job Seeker Black Hole
And for one simple reason: our endgame is unclear: we have failed to identify – and in some cases, even think about – our purpose for personal branding.
“Simple,” you may say… “my ‘purpose’ is to get a job”. So you create a Linkedin account, and lurk on twitter chats. You get an about.me page and join BeKnown and Google+. Depending on your chosen career field, you may even develop an online portfolio to show off your work, blogs and your smiling face in a professional headshot. You are the perfect personal brand.
And yet… you don’t receive a single job offer.
Here’s what you may not realize: The purpose of personal branding is NOT to get a job. Not one recruiter ever said, “Ooh, this guys’ personal branding is really good. I’ve never heard of him, but I’m going to call and offer him a job!”
With that in mind, here are three tips to getting the most out of your personal branding efforts:
1. Determine What You Want to SELL
If you don’t know what you want to sell – no one is going to buy. And, despite what most people seem to think about personal branding, you are NOT selling YOU. You are selling your ability to do a specific job within an existing company culture.
Try to be everything to everybody, and your personal brand is doomed for failure. Be too specific, and you’ll be seen as rigid and less than a team player. Find the right balance. Include a conservative yet professional picture. Most important, SELL how YOU would help accomplish the goals of the employer.
2. Know that Personal Branding is NOT a Standalone Task
You can have the best possible branding; if no one sees it you’re just getting sucked into yet another round of false expectations and disappointments. Just like those hundreds of resumes sent through that mega job board without a single call back… you’re wasting your job seeking time.
Personal branding is only effective when combined with networking and hard work! No matter how introverted you may be, or how uncomfortable you may feel in public arenas meeting new people, you must take baby steps toward becoming a networking phenom – or your personal branding falls on deaf ears.
3. Set Quantitative Goals to Drive Eyes to Your Brand
It’s easy to set goals for your personal branding – and networking. Todd Herschberg, one of the most connected people on Linkedin, says it really comes down to working a plan: “Add two or three new Linkedin contacts a day. In three to four months, the minimum time frame of an average job search, you’ll add 200 to 300 new contacts and influencers who may be tempted to recommend you next time they hear about an opportunity.”
Goal setting can apply to just about every other aspect of your job seeking efforts including twitter, face-to-face networking, and building mentor relationships – all critical tasks that will result in more views of the personal brand you’ve worked so hard to create.
Despite the hype by buzzword chieftains, and the strong emphasis placed on personal branding, this is not some golden ticket to getting a job. Instead, personal branding is just one more important weapon in your candidate arsenal.
Determine what you want to sell, incorporate networking and a little elbow grease and set achievable goals. Now, your personal branding will soar above your job seeking competition – and you’ll avoid yet another job seeker black hole.
About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, YouTern CEO Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in Forbes, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, and Under30CEO.com regarding internships, emerging talent and the current job market – and was recently honored to be named to GenJuice’s “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” list.