Tips on Job Hunting: Small Things Make a Big Difference
By Professor Patrick O’Halloran
New York City College of Technology
BROOKLYN — If someone mentioned the word “branding” to you, could you define it in terms of job hunting?
Branding is essentially “self packaging.” Your brand stands out among the competition; you can tell the difference between the major types of laundry detergent, can’t you? Branding is like that; you want to become one of the big names so employers can recognize you and know they’re getting value. Effectively branding yourself makes you so valuable, in fact, that employers just can’t walk away without offering you a position.
I have some pointers I’d like to pass on to you; they’ll make your job hunt a little more painless.
Branding Yourself Through an Online Presence
Clean up your existing online profiles. When you are looking for a job, you must avoid appearing unprofessional. You never know who’s looking at your public information (including your Myspace, Facebook or Twitter pages).
Create an online profile on LinkedIn.com. Over 65 million people use LinkedIn to network; it’s a place where you can brand yourself, showcase your expertise and network with old and new connections. You can ask people you know (and those you have worked for) to write a recommendation for you. LinkedIn also allows you to link to your blog, Twitter and a personal website, providing additional exposure. You can also upload a PowerPoint slide show designed to display your expertise.
Network on Twitter, MySpace or Facebook to make new connections with people who may help you along during your job search.
Establish yourself online outside of social networking sites. If you are an expert in a particular subject, write a blog about it. Let all your contacts know you have it, and update it frequently. When employers are seeking new employees, they want to find added value — and having an online presence that establishes you as an expert provides a lot of value.
Consider buying your last name as a domain and using it expressly for branding purposes. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to set up.
Selling Your Brand Through Professionalism
Practice your speech every day in front of a mirror. This will help you speak confidently when you have an interview.
No matter where you are interviewing, whether with a staffing firm recruiter or a corporate recruiter, dress professionally. Staffing firms represent their clients (employers) when you come in for an interview — so if you wouldn’t wear something at a corporate interview, do not wear it to a staffing firm interview.
- Purchase business cards. Business cards help brand you and should be handed out at all networking events you attend. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on them, but they are important to have; several online companies print free business cards and only charge you for shipping.
Keep Adding Value To Your Brand
Read a newspaper and/or an industry magazine every day. As a job seeker, you need to stay on top of current events, find out if any of the companies you’re targeting are mentioned in the news, and learn about networking events and career fairs. It also keeps your mind fresh.
Make it your business to attend every free lecture, workshop or seminar that is offered. You can always put the things you learn to use in your job hunt.
- Take as many software and assessment tests as you can. The more you take them, the better you will get at them. Many candidates who come into my office are reluctant to take assessment tests. However, these kinds of tests are designed to determine your strengths and show you where you need improvement.
Stay Motivated To Sell Your Brand
Remain excited and enthusiastic. I often get follow-up calls from candidates wanting to see if I have any jobs available and they sound down, tired and bored.
- Purchase a calendar or use one online to help keep track of your appointments and obligations.
- If you are not working, keep your options open by seeking temporary work. Many temporary jobs become permanent. Working temporary jobs is a great way to show off what you can do.
Professor Patrick O’Halloran teaches at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. His latest book is titled Detailed Job Descriptions in the Hospitality Industry. His email address is [email protected]
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