Job search tips are critical in today’s competitive job market as they help you effectively showcase your skills, network with the right people, and find the job that aligns with your career goals.
Are you looking for a better, higher-paying job? Or are you looking to move to a role with more responsibility? You’ve probably already brushed up that resume- listed your impressive credentials and your considerable experience and expertise.
But here’s something you probably didn’t know. You may be the best candidate for a role- and still not get the job. Heck, you may not even get that interview!
Why? According to CareerBuilder’s experts, almost 50% of employers are less likely to interview any candidate they can’t find online.
In today’s fast-paced and super-connected world, where networking is king, and social media is queen, job opportunities are reserved for the select few willing to confidently showcase their professional personalities.
What do we mean by a professional personality?
Think of all the most successful people you know. What do they have in common? The answer is they aren’t building empires by waiting around, hoping they’ll win the lottery one day. They’re leveraging the power of building personal brands. So why can’t you?
Having a personal brand is essential for anyone looking for a job for a simple reason — it’s the best way to give employers an idea of what to expect from you. Far from being a buzzword, personal branding is now a must for budding entrepreneurs, freelancers, and any professional looking to improve their network. It’s what sets us apart from our competitors; it’s what makes employers connect with us on a personal level.
But first, let’s get into the basics with these job search tips.
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Personal branding is the process of creating a unique voice that separates you from other competitors in your field. It helps you define what you stand for as an individual. It’s a combination of your expertise and experience. It’s where your online and offline personalities meet to tell a professional story. As a job search tip to keep in mind, it’s the perception you would like employers to have of you.
It builds credibility: You’ll be amazed at how much importance employers, clients, and peers place on this simple word. Your experience or expertise rarely gets you rejected or accepted for a job; it’s a simple matter of determining whether you can deliver on your promise.
It helps you differentiate yourself: We spend the first 15 years of our lives trying to fit in with the kids at school and the next 50 years trying to stand out to potential employers. What differentiates us from the hundreds of applicants vying for the same job? Our own unique stories or personal brands.
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It helps make an impression: Remember how we were advised to keep our CVs short and to the point? The advice was meant to help us make lasting impressions with very few words. Well, in 2023, we may rely more on social media to do the job for us, but the goal remains the same. A personal brand is a dynamic resume, perfect for our times.
It helps build a connection. A personal brand is the best way to make employers and clients understand who you are. There’s no point harping on about what you stand for during interviews when you can show employers what you mean instead. It helps them connect with you personally, and they are much more likely to trust your expertise.
At the lowest point of your job search, it may seem like the job market has reached a point of saturation. That there are too many applicants for too few jobs. That everyone else’s skills and experience surpass our own.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s one that’s not backed by statistics. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate as of January 2023 was at an all-time low. More jobs are being introduced every single day, and once you follow the right job search tips — such as building a personal brand — nothing is stopping you from:
As its name suggests, a personal brand offers a unique insight into your life and experiences. It shows clearly what you bring to the table and helps you identify what value you can offer that other applicants don’t. As suggested earlier, it’s as essential for employers to know your ability to stand out as it is for them to know how many master’s degrees you’ve been successfully awarded.
Social media has created a massive shift in the job market. What once seemed unprofessional and a waste of time is now considered an essential skill set that employers highly value. Job search tips are especially important to keep in mind when it comes to networking and using social media.
Even if your job doesn’t involve social media, there’s a larger point being made here- it’s about the importance of adapting. Building your personal brand, creating your own niche, understanding the current market state, and positioning yourself as a master of the times can put you miles ahead of your competition.
The first step to building a personal brand is understanding yourself. When figuring out ways to present yourself as a unique candidate, it’s only obvious to consider things that set you apart from the crowd. Think hard about your background, habits, hobbies, and experiences. Even if they seem irrelevant to your professional career at first, once you start seeing connections between these traits and your business goals, they’ll start falling into place.
Use the insights you come up with to carve out a niche for yourself.
Identifying strengths, in this regard, involve so much more than putting down a list of computer software that you’re well-versed with or a list of accomplishments from back in college. Thinking about your strengths in more abstract terms could be immensely beneficial. Have you always been good with people, for instance? Do you have a brain that’s able to compute large numbers easily?
A little self-reflection goes a long way in identifying your expertise. A helpful exercise could be to take a piece of paper and write down five things you think you’re really good at and five areas where you could improve. Let your imagination take it from there.
Once you’ve landed on the story you want to tell, and what makes you, you use social media to your advantage. It’s a no-brainer that the easiest way to put yourself out there is through social media. As much as 90% of all employers say that they conduct extensive online research of potential candidates before moving ahead with the hire. And so, it’s highly beneficial to make sure what you post remains consistent with how you want your brand to be perceived.
A personal brand isn’t just an online persona you can come up with on the fly. It mustn’t simply be a combination of buzzwords you think people want to hear. Nothing puts people off more than inauthenticity. One of the most underrated job search tips, in fact, is the ability to tell your own story, your own narrative.
Once you’ve settled on that, live and breathe the values that you stand for.
Authenticity and consistency, meanwhile, go hand-in-hand. On social media, for instance, people should be able to identify your brand the second they see your post. Even minor inconsistencies can be very jarring. If you aren’t authentic, then you can’t be consistent, and if you aren’t consistent, you’re simply hurting your own brand.
So, you’ve taken the first step to success and started thinking about your brand. Now it’s time for the fun part: Watching your hard work come to fruition. If you’ve diligently followed all the steps leading to this point, you should soon see the benefits of personal branding starting to shine through.
Benefits such as:
With a personal brand in place, employers now have a handy list of all your strongest attributes and will start to see you as an authority in the subject. Your values and skills are no longer vague self-assessments but a proven track record for everyone to see.
According to most job search tips, this increases your chances of being hired significantly. A recent survey suggests that 85% of freelance jobs are filled through personal networking. This implies that building a solid network through your brand is statistically proven to increase your job opportunities.
Once your personal brand starts to see a certain amount of success, you could soon find yourself with an extensive network of like-minded professionals who see you as an expert in your field. This, in human resources terms, is a gold mine. Employers will value the network you can bring to the table, as it means more profit for their company and better insights into what they can do to improve. This will put you in a position to negotiate better salaries and seek more relevant jobs.
By now, you’re probably high as a kite at the prospect of being able to fight off job offers and negotiate higher salaries. But, unfortunately, the hard work isn’t done yet. As mentioned earlier, consistency is a big part of creating your personal brand. And this doesn’t have to stop just because you’ve seen moderate success. The ability to maintain a personal brand is just as important as the ability to create one.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Social media is ever-evolving. Posts that made waves on Facebook 10 years ago (or even two years ago, for that matter) can quickly seem dated and irrelevant. So don’t sit back once you’ve created your brand; continue to increase your social media reach.
Use your online presence to reach more communities and network with your peers. Track data from your posts to see what’s working well with your followers and what isn’t. Make schedules to ensure you post at the correct times and to the right people. In a nutshell — keep building an online presence; you want your brand to reach as many people as possible, after all.
Maintaining a personal brand involves a lot of campaigning for yourself. While this could be done over platforms like social media, getting yourself out there in person is equally beneficial. Meet other professionals from your field, organize groups with like-minded people, stay in touch with former colleagues, and introduce yourself to potential business partners and investors.
Put yourself out there, and make sure that people continue to remember your name. Once you’ve achieved a certain degree of relevance, it’s essential to keep it up, or all your hard work will have amounted to nothing.
Think of where you were a few years ago and how much you’ve changed in the time since. Much like your personal journey, a personal brand must update itself over time. As your skills improve, experience doubles, and interests vary, don’t forget to let your personal brand evolve along with you. As already established, it’s an essential part of making your brand as authentic as possible.
It’s safe to say that of all the job search tips you’ve probably scoured through, and this one is possibly the most challenging- yet rewarding. A personal brand is the best way to stand out from the crowd, showcase your dazzling talent, and ensure that the job opportunities you get are the right fit for you.
Even if you don’t manage to succeed in having the perfect personal brand as fast as you’d like, be patient. Even the individual skills you pick up from the process can go a long way in helping you get better job opportunities. Over a third of all freelancers in the USA are already seeing the benefits of maintaining an extensive network, for instance, and a massive 85% of freelancers say they use social media to find work. It all adds up.
And so, we’ll leave you now with a daunting yet fulfilling task. We’re sure you can’t wait to see the results, but first, you must do the work. Turn yourself into a brand people love, and you’ll soon be soaring to success.