Have you ever wondered how Kim Kardashian became famous? While some might refer to her as a “television personality” or “socialite,” Kim Kardashian is an archetypical personal brand. From her start in a reality television series to subsequent guest appearances on television shows and in movies, her efforts both on and offline have somehow made many people believe that she is not only valuable, but deserving of her fame.
Whatever your opinion is of the Kardashians, their story is a lesson about the power of marketing yourself. In this job market, a resume isn’t enough to make you stand out, even if it’s done by the best professional resume writing service. But even if you’re not actively looking for a job, when it comes to increasing your exposure to future employers and experts in your industry, it’s important to find appropriate ways to define and project your personal brand.
Find your niche
It’s not flattering to think of yourself as a commodity, but when it comes to getting recognized by employers and influencers, you’re only as good as the value you bring to the table. Most people tend to buy products that are very good at accomplishing one or two tasks. Products that can do many things in a mediocre way are generally not as popular.
Think of your brand the same way. You may know five languages, program in C++, like different types of artisan breads, and occasionally work out. That might make you interesting to your friends, but when you push out too many messages about yourself to your audience, it’s not only confusing, but makes you look unfocused.
Pinpoint one or two strengths that you feel comfortable being the go-to person for. Make sure you’re always up to date on the newest information and trends about whatever you choose as your specialty. For instance, if you decide to promote yourself as a graphic designer, it would be embarrassing if you didn’t know about new Photoshop features and releases. Set up a simple Google Alert to capture information about your specialty from a wide variety of sources.
Promote yourself in the right venues
Online social profiles are certainly nothing new. Sites like KnowEm and NameChk make it easy to claim hundreds of profiles across multiple social networking sites. Claiming your online profiles is a great way to prevent someone from snatching up your identity, but dedicating yourself to maintaining all of these profiles can be daunting.
Rather than spreading yourself thin, use top social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for a more focused reach. You can link updates from all of these accounts rather than posting separate updates on each. To reach a focused audience, pick one or two niche social networks. For graphic designers, MyArtInfo are appropriate communities to actively participate in. If you’re actively looking for a job, make sure the language in your profile reflects your availability without seeming too desperate.
Look for opportunities to network in person via sites like Meetup where you can meet other industry professionals and employers. Most major office supply shops offer business card printing services. Have them printed with addresses of your social profiles to maximize your exposure.
Contribute to the discourse
Employers and recruiters won’t notice you if you simply sit back and read discussion forums. Participate! You don’t have to offer the most groundbreaking view on a topic, but sharing an informed opinion will showcase your expertise. If you’re really stumped on what to add to a discussion, ask the questions no one else is asking.
Remember to keep discussions polite, both online and offline. Once you’ve refined your prowess, it might be easier for you to pick out the flaws in others’ opinions. Employers and influencers don’t like bullies. Politely share your knowledge, and show that you’re someone who can help others with their professional development.
The majority of us won’t be able to market ourselves like the Kardashians. While frantic outbursts, self-indulgence, and vanity work for a small percentage of the population, the rest of us will get further by becoming informed industry experts, sharing our expertise, and demonstrating our value.
To learn more, check out our Personal Branding Workshops running in the UK and further afield.
Leslie Williams is a writer for Jobfox Resumes, the largest resume writing service online. She specializes in using social media to connect to the right job.