Tips on Job Hunting: Small Things Make a Big Difference
By Professor Patrick O’Halloran
New York City College of Technology
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — What is branding?
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. Branding is a way to step up and scream, “Hire me!”
I have some pointers I’d like to pass on to you; they’ll make your job hunt a little more painless (and probably more successful).
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) or who might be judging you as a potential employee because of what they find.
• Create an online profile on LinkedIn.com. More than 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. You can join groups with users working in your industry or sharing common interests; many members post questions online which you can answer, further establishing yourself as an expert. More and more recruiters are turning to LinkedIn to secure talent and post open positions.
• 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 which 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 elevator 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. Staffing firms are there to screen candidates, so they’re assessing your communication skills, qualifications, behavior, your timeliness, how you dress and your demeanor.
• 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. Your business cards should list your name, job titles you’re qualified to perform, your phone number and your email address. Carry them with you at all times.
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. The more you know the more interesting and marketable you become. Most publications offer online subscription services, and all your news will be delivered right to your desktop.
• 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.
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 pohal [email protected]
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