Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Set the Room on Fire: Branding Yourself 101


You are not the reason you do not have a job. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there! You’ve got the experience, the degree and people like you! Try taking this classic line out for a spin: it’s not you; it’s the recession.
The fact is the market is swamped with awesome people a lot like you—those with decades of experience, those with stellar degrees and killer references, and those who can set a room on fire with their wit. Competition is fierce! But you are your own most powerful weapon in this fight. Your passions and your drive, your interests and your history set you apart. Harness the full power of what makes you unique: brand yourself.
Branding yourself is a buzz-concept based on a really simple idea. Articulate what your “edge” is and sell it ‘til the cows come home. Figure out what makes you an asset as an employee or business partner and craft your online and in-person presence to revolve around that idea. Branding yourself answers that vague interview question, “What makes you a good fit for this job?” before you score the interview.
Say you’re trying to get into green energy. You churned out a winning thesis in your masters program but the industry is still one big closed door.  Articulate the energy niche that drives you crazy and keeps you up at night, whether it’s solar panels on schools or educating people about making their homes super efficient. Then broadcast this message in a professional and engaging way.
This plays out across your social media profiles: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It involves following related blogs and participating in germane discussions. And, perhaps most importantly, branding yourself demands that you launch your own blog. Your blog is the epicenter of your personal brand. Keep it focused on your edge. Your blog will paint a picture to potential employers and colleagues of exactly who you are and what drives you.
Launching a branding campaign will help you to focus on your strengths and goals. It will snag the eyes of like-minded people and could ultimately land you your dream job.

-Sara

Sara Triana Mitchell is a blogger and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and is pursuing an M.Ed. in Children's Literature.

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