More than ever, when you are in transition you should have a brand. Why? you ask. Because that is how you differentiate yourself and stand out from the proverbial crowd.
Branding is not about what you like but about what employers like. Your branding statement—whether in writing, on the Internet, or spoken via your elevator pitch should have the triple purposes of gaining credibility, arousing curiosity, and increasing your likability factor. And your work toward those goals will not be in vain, because 90 + percent of employers check out candidates prior to making initial searches via, say, LinkedIn, Spokeo, or ZoomInfo.
Nowadays, employers use Google when searching for prospects. Research shows that 29% of people use two words when searching, 28% use three words, 17% use four words, and only 11% use one word. This means that your résumé or any other information about you should be rich with nouns and phrases. This advice is different from what we were told in the past: that résumés should have lots of action verbs. In fact, a combination of both is best. Yes, certainly computers are looking for keywords, but when people actually read about you, they want to see both action and accomplishments.
A recent study found that 90% of people search on the first three pages of search engine results and that 62% search only on the first page. Good branding work rewards candidates by resulting in a high ranking on Google and LinkedIn searches. To find out what’s out there in cyberspace, here are the most common social media search engines:
Setting it up is a bit time-consuming, but you might be surprised at the information available about you and that you didn’t have a clue about. One of the best ways to find out what people are saying about you is to monitor your reputation via www.google.com/alerts.
It’s very important to communicate properly, for this is how people judge you. And there are certain words and phrases you should avoid because they’re overused and most often meaningless. Here are a few examples:
- Extensive experience
- Team player
- Problem solver
- Results oriented
- Proven track record
- Fast paced
These days 90%+ of recruiters check LinkedIn. Therefore it makes good sense for you to improve as best as possible the information on your LinkedIn page. Here are a few simple ideas:
- Increase the number of recommendations.
- Ask questions and provide answers.
- Update your status periodically.
- Inform your connections about projects you’re working on.
- Connect with your Twitter account.
- Share links to articles of interest.
- Import e-mail addresses from Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Outlook.
- Connect with ex-colleagues: people on LinkedIn from companies you worked with before.
- Connect with people you met in person via networking events and whose business cards you collected.
As you can see, branding yourself is of utmost importance. Otherwise, you stay hidden from those you really want to see you.