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Job Search Need Some GAS? Try Personal Branding

Melissa CooleyToday's post is written by Melissa Cooley (pictured), a career consultant with a passion for helping people develop strategies to reach their goals and maximize their potential. As founder of The Job Quest, she assists individuals who are seeking employment or facing the confusion of navigating a career path. Melissa also provides a fresh perspective and other resources on Twitter and Facebook. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn.

Is your job search puttering along like a beat up old car? Inject some personal branding strategies into the mix to give it some GAS—Generosity, Authenticity, and Synergy!

G = Generosity

One of the hallmarks of a good personal brand is the act of giving of oneself.  As you network both online and offline, show an interest in the activities of people you meet. Find out what they're doing, then ask them, "How can I help you?"

It seems a bit counterintuitive to step out of the spotlight to focus on another person's needs, but three things happen when you take that approach:

  • You get the opportunity to showcase your skills and talent.
  • You demonstrate your ability to collaborate with others.
  • The person you helped becomes your biggest ally, and will think of you when other opportunities arise.

The late author and business philosopher Jim Rohn said it best: "Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness — great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy."

A = Authenticity

Digital marketing specialist Mitch Joel wrote a post about personal branding in which he characterized some who use it as "feel[ing] like plastic and tast[ing] like vanilla."

That points to a problem that crops up when trying to execute a good personal branding strategy: Personal branding is NOT slick marketing that would have you be perfect in every way. That kind of execution lacks the stamp of YOU that would make it uniquely yours. It’s not authentic.

Done right, no one personal brand would be like another. The process to get there can be the same, but the outcome will be different, based on interests, personality nuances, and life experiences.

Say, for example, you’ve messed up on a work project. That’s OK! We've all made mistakes. Good personal branding doesn’t try to cover up the past. Instead, a good strategy would be to acknowledge an error was made, then talk about the steps you took to make it right and the lessons you learned. That speaks volumes about your values and ability to "rise from the ashes" of something that can be very embarrassing.

Nothing plastic-y or vanilla about that use of personal branding! Injecting a proper dose of you in the mix will allow prospective employers to feel your authenticity and see the real you shine through.

S = Synergy

In today’s job searches, you’re talking about yourself in many different places. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and a blog are just a few accounts you may have set up to connect with others and get out the word about your job hunt. Are you sure they're all sending the same personal branding message?

I’m not suggesting they all be carbon copies of each other, but each site should convey the same strengths, professional interests, and values, as well as what you can do for a potential employer. Having one strong, united message makes for a solid presence.

Having a clear, consistent message across all social media platforms can boost your personal brand so that someone reading your message on different sites will be able to say "I remember seeing that on another site," then make the connection that the messages came from the same person. That synergy can only make your personal brand more effective.

Use generosity, authenticity, and synergy to jump-start your job search! It’s the GAS you need to drive your personal brand and land the job you want!

RELATED LINKS

Put Your Brand Name on Your Resume, Not Your Real Name
Social Networking Can Get You Hired or Fired
3-Step Plan to Beat the Competition as Jobs Return

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