By Christina M. Nguyen
One of the bigger ironies of life is that the people who preach something often don’t follow their own advice. Marketers for example, can spend years building and carefully managing a brand – making sure the messaging is just right, developing and distributing the content that fits the audience expectation, and putting out ads that reflect the social conscience of the organization. Yet, when it comes to their own personal branding, they will often ignore it, thinking they can simply showcase their quality work and get hired for the next role.
Like a business, it’s no secret that the brand you project matters. Whether it’s your expertise and competencies, the mood you bring, what you stand for, or what you believe in – all of that plays a role in your “selling your brand” to a potential employer. Here are four tips to get started on developing your personal brand:
Do you have any common themes in your work? For example, have you often worked with tech agencies, fashion brands, or restaurants? If there are recurring industries in your history, state that you specialize in them, if you’re interested in continuing down the same path. After all, the experience of marketing for a software development firm can be very different from that of a luxury fashion brand. Such industry-specific knowledge can be huge in terms of the way a hiring organization can perceive you. Brands often prefer to work with marketers with experiences in similar industries since you’ll hit the ground running with a better understanding of the target audience.
If you specialize in any part of marketing, make it crystal clear! That’s particularly important if the role is focused in a particular area. If you’re more of a marketing generalist, that’s ok too. Many management roles require a broad knowledge of many different areas. Whatever the case, your expertise should be projected in a way that best reflect what you can bring to the table.
Many marketers don’t give much thought about their approach to their craft. If you have a background in psychology, perhaps you approach marketing from a psychological perspective, using scientific findings to power your decisions. If you use data constantly to help inform your decisions, why not say it and demonstrate it? How do you look at solving problems? Can you be a thought leader? What area can you be a thought leader in? If your experience has given you a ton of insights in marketing mobile and web apps, label this as an area of expertise on your bio. One tip: Think about building your own website, where you can showcase a lot of this unique perspective. These days, it’s pretty easy and inexpensive and you don’t have to be a technical guru to learn build a website by yourself. It’s also a great experience developing your own content, distributing it on, say, a LinkedIn, and seeing what resonates.
You’re not just a marketer, you’re a human being. Showing your everyday personality in your portfolio can make you look more enjoyable to work with compared to others with the same skills. If you want to, feel free to write about your hobbies in your portfolio’s bio. Your love of mountain climbing may or may not be directly relevant to your marketing work, but it does two things: First, it gives you a unique and different perspective that you can apply creatively, which never hurts. Second, it sets you apart as an individual and at least can give your coworkers something to talk to you about at lunch.
If you’re inward and shy, that’s OK too. Make sure to reflect yourself authentically but also positively. Remember, people generally want to work with others who have a positive outlook and have energy toward something. So even if you’re passionate about reading, show some energy around that.
For more on this topic, we recommend following people like author William Arruda on LinkedIn, who provides tips and other best practices for developing your personal brand.
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