"Building your personal brand." At best the idea is daunting. At worst, the entire concept might make you cringe. As much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, it is my steadfast duty to stress that your personal brand is more important than ever.
We live in an increasingly competitive jobs market, no matter what your chosen industry. Personal branding is your way of becoming your inner flamingo amongst a crowd of pigeons, and will definitely help you get hired. Here's how you can get started:
Get your own domain name
You may have your very own Squarespace or Wix portfolio (if not, you should totally consider getting one, Squarespace is especially easy to use and is pretty affordable), but you may not have considered purchasing your own domain name. There are a few reasons why this is important.
Firstly, think about a regular Internet user. Rarely do you find people typing in a long web address into their chosen browser – having a short and sweet domain name makes you memorable and easier to access.
Secondly, it improves your SEO. SEO, or search engine optimisation is how 'Google-able' you are, which means how likely it is to get your content and name on the first page of search results when you type in your name. Thirdly, it looks way better on the slick business cards you'll print out.
Spend time thinking about your skills
I'm not just talking about your secret fan fiction-writing hobby. Or maybe I am! Reflect upon what your passions are, and focus on refining those skills. It is important to see if those skills are 'transferrable', meaning, if you're a good writer you can apply it to many different areas such as copywriting, marketing and social media.
If you have an online portfolio, it's good practice to make these skills clear by displaying navigable sections on your website with examples of your skills.
A great way to do this is with rich media. Have a photo of you winning an award? Place it in a big, bold position on your website. Short Vines might be a cool medium to explore, and would be an interesting way to show off your creative skills.
Align your social media accounts and make them flow
Employers Google you. This is a fact, and you have to be prepared for the Insta-stalking. One way to seem really put together online is having call-to-actions to your other social media accounts in your bio.
For example, advertise your Instagram account in your Twitter bio, and vice versa. Encourage interaction by placing social media buttons on your website as well, as this will give potential employers the chance to get to know you better, and in real time.
Speaking of introductions:
Pepper your online presence with personality
We're not asking you to open up your Twitter to your Friday night tipsy ramblings (hint: you could do that with a private Twitter account) but it's important to show the world that you're human. It's one thing to tweet links about things you like, but another to retweet things you like with your own opinions and commentary. It opens a window into your world, and what you are like as a person.
Often employers get candidates who are very similar on paper, and tend to hire based on whether they think they'd get on with you. Showing off your interests and personality online is one way to say "Hey, I'm a pretty cool person to work with."
Visuals aren't the most important thing…
…but a bad website can make or break you.
Designing my own website was a pain, but taking time to really think about the way a user experiences a website and how appealing it is to the eye makes a world of difference. Use a colour palette designer to make sure your website colours are complimentary, and don't use hard-to-read fonts.
Getting someone's attention is often not enough. It's keeping it that's important.