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4 tips to market yourself to potential employers

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personal-branding

In today’s job market, it is difficult to stand out among hundreds of other potential employees. With almost everyone graduating from a big-name university or taking an array of online courses, it’s tough to grab a recruiter’s attention with your CV.

The secret to impressing recruiters is by standing out and portraying your “unique self” through your personal and online presence — in other words, by creating a personal brand.

Speaking about brands, a company’s distinctive symbol or slogan probably pops into your mind. Similarly, personal branding is selling yourself through the distinctive qualities and skills that make you stand out in the job market.

To learn more about the art of personal branding, we spoke to Miranda Naiman, founder and managing director at Empower Limited, a business consultancy firm based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

“Developing and perfecting your unique personal brand is crucial in a competitive labor market. By dressing a certain way and carrying yourself professionally, you automatically create positive first and future impressions and stand out from the crowd,” Naiman says.

Here are four essential tips for effective personal branding:

1. Keep it classy.

Your dressing style, your way of carrying yourself, your tone of voice, and your demeanor all make up your personality and therefore, your personal brand. Maintaining a positive personal brand is about more than performing well at work. You must also present yourself in a way that is classy and professional.

Remember, everything you do in a professional environment defines your brand, so always be conscious of your presence and make an effort to keep improving your image in front of potential employers.

2. Manage your online image.

“Have a solid LinkedIn profile because people look you up before they meet you, and be careful with the content you upload on social media [Instagram, Twitter, Facebook] — your employers certainly do not want to see you in a bikini or sweaty abs after a workout!” Naiman advises.

“Developing and perfecting your unique personal brand is crucial in a competitive labor market. By dressing a certain way and carrying yourself professionally, you automatically create positive first and future impressions and stand out from the crowd,” Naiman says.

Social media has become a very effective tool for connecting employees with employers. It’s also proving to be a great source for job seekers to look for their dream job. However, this means that your online presence becomes even more crucial to your employment prospects. You’ll be under scrutiny at all times.

Maintain an image that makes a good impression on potential recruiters even before your first meeting. Even better, make your profile relevant to the role you want to attract job opportunities. (Need help? Here’s a guide to get you started.)

3. Select your niche.

Specialization can be key for grabbing a job. Obviously while looking at job candidates, a recruiter wants to make sure you have the essential skills, related work experience, and a relevant degree.

Generalizing your expertise and experience makes it hard for recruiters to recognize those special skills they’re looking for. So select a niche that’s in demand, build out your skillset, and make it an essential part of your personal brand. Start with taking free courses online to develop your skills, find job or internship opportunities, and build contacts in the field to get you closer to your dream job.

4. Associate with other brands.

To give more credibility to your personal brand, it is a good idea to associate yourself with other, stronger brands. The key is to make your network broader. So socialize with people in the same field — add them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, or join a professional group in your area of interest. Recruiters may find it easier to remember your job application if you’re connected to a person or company they know.

To establish ties with big-brand companies, consider interning or volunteering for them. Even if you have to work for free, you’ll establish contacts within the firm and link your name to a company with a good reputation in the market.

Finally, be patient and persistent. It takes time to build any brand, even if it is personal one.

By Sakina Nanabhai

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