The New Year is just a little over a week away. You’ve just started to think about looking for a new job or internship, and you’re wondering where to begin. The entire process can be quite overwhelming for many, especially if you don’t have family members you can lean on for help. You may be graduating from college, finishing up graduate school, just looking for something new, or switching careers altogether….
No matter what your situation, the first thing to consider is your own personal brand. Yes, YOU. Your personal brand is a lot like the big brands that you think of such as Target, Apple, McDonald’s, and Facebook. What do you think of when you think of these brands? Do you love them? Do you hate them? Where did you come up with these impressions? I will be that there are brands that you’ve never used before, but you already have an impression of.
When you’re looking for jobs, the first thing you need to consider is your personal brand. You may wonder how to begin to evaluate your personal brand. Here are the steps you should follow to start with:
- Get your resume in order. Draft a new resume or update your existing resume. Then, work with a professional career coach to ensure that your resume really makes the cut. The worst thing I’ve seen is candidates with a great education and great background who are overlooked because of a sloppy resume that doesn’t succinctly highlight their skills.
- Do a Google search of your name in quotes. The first place an employer will look other than your resume is in the search engines. For example, I would check out “Angela Copeland.” What pops up? Are there positive or negative results? Do you have the ability to remove or change the negative posts? Can you add more positive posts?
- Do a Google search again, but within Google Images (Google.com/images). You may never have noticed, but Google also allows you to search through their images using your name. Are there beautiful photos of you and your parents from your graduation? Or, do photos also show up that your friends posted on Facebook after a drunken party?
- Ensure that your e-mail address is clear and concise. Take a second look at your resume, and the e-mails you’re sending. It should not make a statement about your hobbies or your age (such as email@example.com). It should be plain and easy to understand. Try something like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re an older job seeker, stay away from e-mail addresses that date you, such as anything@AOL.com, or anything@HOTMAIL.com. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone gossip, “Did you see his e-mail address? Oh my gosh! He is either extremely old, or he knows nothing about technology!” Neither of these is something you want an employer to think (even if they are kind enough not to say it).
- Take inventory of your social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, your blog. Whatever you’re using, it’s time to go through it. Look at your privacy settings. Ensure that they’re set so that random internet stalkers (a.k.a. “future employers”) can only see what you want them to. Check that your visible profile picture is also in line with the professional brand that you want to display. Consider hiding or removing old photos that don’t represent who you are today. Drunken party photos or scantily clad beach pics are not what you want to be part of your personal brand.
Following the steps above will help to ensure that you’re driving your own personal brand, and avoiding a social media nightmare. Stay tuned to CopelandCoaching.com for more tips for building your brand and finding the job for you in the New Year.
Author: Angela Copeland
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.