It’s Time to Promote Yourself Like a Brand
I received a phone call from a friend yesterday asking me for advice on what she should put on her LinkedIn profile. After giving her my two cents and some pointers on alternative cover letters and resume formats, she asked, “have you ever written a post about this?” No I hadn’t, I told her, at first not even entertaining the idea of doing so.
You see, I didn’t think online strategies for getting noticed by employers was at all related to content marketing. But then I thought about it a little more. When applying for jobs and looking for employment, you’re essentially marketing yourself. You become the brand and, in this day and age, have to use online resources to get the word out about yourself. So why not apply my social media and digital marketing knowledge to this, at times, most daunting of undertakings?
I therefore decided to compile this list of ways to promote yourself online in order to get noticed by potential employers. Let’s get started.
The first thing you need to do is decide which of your social media platforms are for fun and which are for business. For example, on LinkedIn I’m professional, but on Facebook I let my hair down. Because of this, I never link one profile to the other. Even though they are both social media profiles, for me they serve completely different purposes.
If you had to pick one of the major social media networks to promote yourself professionally and attract potential employers, LinkedIn wins hands down. If you’re just getting started, make sure you use a semi-professional looking profile picture, include all of your contact information, and upload a relevant background photo. List the positions you’ve held that most apply to the line of work you want to get into, and any other roles you think are important. For example, I like to keep my internships for Dig Boston and UndergroundHipHop.com on my profile to show my well-rounded writing experience.
One of my favorite features about LinkedIn is that you can now upload projects or add links to content you’ve written under every job you list. Simply click “Edit Profile” and, under a previously or currently held position you’ve listed, hit the blue square with the plus sign to the right of “edit.” You will then be prompted to add a link or upload a file. After every post I publish, I add it as a link here, and LinkedIn automatically generates a clip of the article with an image, the article title, and an excerpt of the post. This is a great feature to utilize because it shows potential employers that you are in fact generating content and/or contributing projects of value to your current and/or past position.
Not only should you add links to your most relevant work on LinkedIn, you should create an online portfolio as well. Currently, I have two: one on Contently and the other on Skyword. As you can see, I use these two portfolios differently.
Contently is my favorite, and the one I share on other sites. It extracts multiple stories from one website so that you don’t have to sit there and input URL after URL. It also allows you to link to your own website and social media profiles and presents articles in an easily-digestible format. My favorite feature of Contently, however, is that it gives you portfolio stats. For example, I’ve written 85 stories, 50K words, have 57K shares and 2K tweets.
My Skyword portfolio, on the other hand, I created specifically for Skyword employment opportunities and don’t share as my “online portfolio” like I do with my Contently page. For this mini-folio, I uploaded only my most popular and socially shared pieces of content. Still, it’s nice to have two portfolios I can point people to.
Online Content Outlets
So you started creating an online portfolio, but realized you don’t have as much content as you thought you did and your page is looking a bit…meh. Not to worry! Even if you haven’t created much content for previous jobs and/or don’t have your own blog, you can still create content for other sites. I recommend checking out Medium and Buzzfeed.
On both sites, the content you create can be about whatever your heart desires, although the formats vary. Medium provides a very straightforward, user-friendly design that allows you to write, add an image, video, embed code, and break up text into parts seamlessly. It also has a little tutorial about how to change the style of text at the bottom of the draft page.
Buzzfeed, as you probably know, is very image-based. The format encourages users to select a style of post (article, plain list, numbered, and countdown) and to include photos, videos, links, and even quizzes.
Overall, I think of Medium as a place to post more insightful, thought-provoking articles and encourage comments, and Buzzfeed as a place to have fun with image-heavy lists and get more social shares.
Other Web Profiles
We’ve already talked about LinkedIn, but there are other, lesser-known sites where you can create a user profile, engage with other users, and browse job opportunities. Some of these websites include AngelList, GrowthHackers, and Inbound.org.
While AngelList is primarily focused on startups in any and every field, GrowthHackers and Inbound.org are centered around established online marketing companies and professionals. These types of sites are great resources and networking tools, letting you get in contact with other professionals and check out a plethora of job listings you might not find elsewhere.
Traditional resumes are boring, so, if you’re not explicitly asked for one, why not spice it up a bit?
Vizualize.me is a great site where you can turn your work experience into an infographic easily and for free. Simply sign up with LinkedIn or your email address, then input your work stats, choose a theme, style, and what you want included in your resume, and voila! It lays out all of your necessary work history and skills in a fun, engaging way.
To get an idea of what one looks like, you can check out mine here.
Original Cover Letter
I was recently reading an awesome article by Jay Acunzo about hiring content marketers in which he outlines what type of cover letter really stands out to him. First, he advises prospective applicants to throw away everything college career centers taught you about a cover letter.
In other words, no “To whom it may concern,” or “I’m interested in the position of _______ because…” Instead, show off your personality and what makes you unique and especially suited for the role.
One example he gives is of a cover letter that began “I’m afraid.” Period. Next paragraph. It’s very jolting and caught Jay’s eye. The cover letter continued by outlining a current problem in the industry and what this individual was willing and able to do to remedy it—all in the name of the company s/he was applying to. This format is great because not only does it reel you in right from the start; it’s wonderfully unique and the approach can apply to any field.
So, you have a presence on professional social media sites like LinkedIn, created an online portfolio, published content on third-party sites to bolster that portfolio, created profiles on smaller sites with awesome job boards, given your resume a facelift and have vowed to never write a snooze-inducing cover letter again.
Now what? It’s time to focus on the details.
It’s very likely you’ll be corresponding with potential employers via email, so why not give your sign-off a little professional flair?
Head on over to Wisestamp and create a free, personalized signature with whatever details you’d like prospective employers to know about you. Not only can you include a professional photo and link to that awesome portfolio you just curated, you can even include the title of and a link to your most recent blog post.
Hopefully, with these tools in hand, you’ll be able to find ample job opportunities and ultimately land your dream job—or at least something close to it. Just remember, during a job hunt you’re marketing yourself, so be sure to implement some digital marketing best practices and follow up with every lead you get!