Career Management

Job seekers beware — when you’re trying to get your foot in the door, personal branding can mean the difference between whether that door gets opened, or slammed in your face. Your personal brand communicates to the world exactly who you are and what you’re capable of, and if your brand isn’t on point, you can kiss that dream job goodbye. Lucky for you, the power to sculpt your brand is entirely in your own hands, and these 5 tips will help you get started:

1. Tidy Up Your Online Image:

Like it or not, your online persona is an extension of your personal appearance. You wouldn’t walk into a job interview and start chugging a beer while showing off your new tattoo, right?

So it’s probably best if this isn’t the first thing a potential employer sees when he or she searches your name or checks out your Facebook page. Google yourself, see what shows up and do your best to take down or hide those crazy spring break pictures. Those priceless memories won’t seem so precious if they cost you a job or a promotion.

Also, do your best to be consistent with your social media presence. Try to use the same name and profile pic on all of your accounts. Consistency online communicates consistency and organization in life.

2) Bona fides:

Another simple way to get yourself noticed instantly is with an eye-catching resume. While this seems like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised how many applicants think they can get by with a few black lines on a piece of plain white printer paper. Your resume is often the very first thing your potential boss will see of you, and you only get one chance to make a first impression.

If you don’t have the design skills or software needed to make your resume really pop, there are super easy to use online resume services that can help you make a professional, unique and attention-grabbing C.V. in just a few minutes, so there’s really no excuse on this one.

3) Narrow your focus:

It is far more important to be really proficient in one or two areas than it is to be just OK at everything. Making a name for yourself as a specialist will instantly raise your profile, so you should try to focus on honing your skills in a small niche within your field. Simply getting noticed is a crucial step toward nabbing that premium position, and being really knowledgeable where others are not is a great way to generate some immediate interest. Instead of being just another adequate candidate, you’ll stand out as an expert among amateurs.

4) Get recognized:

Once you’ve zeroed in on what your focus will be, get out there and do it. If you’re a blogger, make sure you’re posting content regularly, if you’re a designer, find as many outlets as you can online and elsewhere to get your work seen. Not only will all of this practice sharpen your skills, but it will help you build a more impressive portfolio.

Most would-be employers will pride quality over quantity, but if you can demonstrate both, you’re sure to turn a lot more heads. So get your stuff out there and ask your friends to share it and help spread it around. The more your work pops when up in a Google search, the better.

5) Above all things, be you:

Your brand is a product of your personality, not the other way around. As you consider how you plan on presenting yourself and how you’d like to be perceived, try not to lose sight of those special things that make you an individual. If you go into a job interview pretending to be someone you’re not, getting hired is the worst thing that could happen—you could be stuck trying to play pretend for the rest of your career! Building a personal brand is not about adopting a completely different personality, but rather it’s about bringing your strengths to the fore while downplaying your weaknesses in order to present a refined and carefully curated version of your unique self.

As you continue crafting your brand you’ll find out what works for you and what doesn’t. We all have different ideas about where we want our brands to take us, and personal branding isn’t an exact science, but keep these tips in mind and you’ll be in better shape than most.

Author: James Clift is CEO of, the best website for professionals to create stand-out resumes and portfolios.

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