As I publish this blog post, it's been 1,972,800 minutes since I uploaded the video "Hire Me" to YouTube. It's got just over 60,000 views--that's roughly one person listening to my mediocre singing voice every half hour. Not too shabby! Back in 2009, creating an online personal brand experience was relatively new, and I stumbled upon creating one rather serendipitously -perhaps by accident. The "Hire Me" campaign, while simply designed to help me get noticed, also made me very aware of how important it was to proactively develop a cohesive, professional personal brand experience.
Today, personal branding is more important than ever. Prospective employers have access to public facing social networks, employment history and more. While primarily looking for reputable information, employers are also using online sources to weed out unqualified candidates, looking for the candidate "cream" that rises to the top. Not sure where that phrase came from, but it probably has to do something with cooking. Always take my colloquial phrases with a grain of salt.
Anyway, the new "digital resume" (creating and maintaining the basic levels of a professional online presence) has become a necessity for pretty much anyone looking for a job. So much, that it now takes a bit of creativity, ingenuity and expertise to stand out amongst the competition. Without further ado, let's dive into today's Question MARK-eting challenge! This comes from Judy, who is looking to land an Operations-specific job by developing a unique personal brand experience--one that captures her experience, value and adds a layer of creativity to get noticed. So, where do we start? Like any sturdy structure, we'll want to set a strong foundation before building anything elaborate.
Setting the Foundation:
Before going out and trying to get noticed, it's crucial to ensure that all your online profiles are up to date and are aligned. Here are a couple housekeeping items to create a rock solid online presence:
Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is 100% complete (or at least close to it) and up-to-date with you more recent qualifications. Nothing says "disqualify this candidate" like a bare-bones LinkedIn profile. Ensure that you have a substantial amount of connections before applying to a job. You can always sync your gmail account and send invitations in bulk to boost up your connections. Lastly, I'd recommend using this comprehensive list of things you should do to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Twitter is a different beast than LinkedIn because its authenticity comes off based on a few metrics: Your following to follower ratio, how often you've published content, and the tone and consistency of your tweets. Bottom line here is that if you want a Twitter profile to help you in a personal brand experience campaign, you'll need to commit yourself and do it right. Depending on the timing of the campaign and the context of the job, Twitter might not make sense (as it takes awhile to create a useful account) and the prospective employer may not consider it. However, if you do have an account that has not been used in awhile, it might make sense to either pick it up or remove it, as inactivity is worse than not having an account.
Ah, Facebook. It always seems like people are getting hired for their creativity on Twitter and fired for their negligence on Facebook. Alright, people get fired just as much for irresponsible tweets, but you get the idea: Facebook is a personal environment and chances are, you won't want prospective employers digging too deep. My advice is to dig into the specifics of privacy settings so you know exactly who will see what.
You don't need to have a full blown website, but it's important to show your digital presence by means of online content. About.me pages seem to work well, but I think if you really want to impress a prospective employer, take the time to create a simple website that is a home for content that will get you noticed. This will tie into a the campaign strategy I outline below!
Rocking Your Expertise & Experience:
After making sure all your online assets are aligned, it's time to think how we leverage them to get you noticed. Now's the time to figure out a means to creatively showcase your skills in a way that a.) establishes you as an expert in the Operations field and b.) provides widespread exposure to help you get found. Before we dive in to getting all creative and such, let's take a step back and consider the important pieces.
What type of position are you seeking?
You've sent a great overview of the type of Operations position you'd like to fill. In your words "Operations is often administrative controlling budgets, setting up systems for expenses. Anything re: keeping a commercial office running efficiently." You're an operations expert, Judy. Let's capitalize on that to develop a creative content strategy for prospective employers. Before we do that though, it's important to think about...
Beefing Up Your Value Proposition:
This is the meat and potatoes of marketing (colloquial phrase strikes again!). You'll need to get to the core of what value you can bring to the company as an experienced, operations professional. What is the inherent value of you working for the prospective employers you'll be pitching? Probably ensuring that all their operational aspects go smoothly
Developing a Personal Brand Experience Campaign Idea:
So based on what you've said, you'll need to convey how you're a sharp, experienced, operations specialist who can GSD (acronym entered to omit the expletive). That's a value-proposition in itself You also want to stand out (preferably with a robust Internet presence) from other candidates who could be equally as qualified. My recommendation? Let's create a simple "Operations-themed" website with a dedicated content strategy focused on Operations thought-leadership. Then, once you have some content up (I'd say around 10-12 blog posts), begin promoting yourself to potential employers. This approach achieves three goals simultaneously:
- Provides a place to house useful content that gets you found by prospective employers
- Reinforces your Operations expertise through the thought-leadership content you create
- Creates a central hub for prospective employers to find out more about your qualifications and information on how to contact you
I look at it like this: If you're trying to establish your expertise in an Operations profession, there's really no better way than to do so by creating a simple website (home, about, experience, and contact), building out a blog and publishing content on your social channels. There's no real "silver bullet" to getting noticed by employers, but if you focus on what you know (in this case, operations) you can develop a creative website that fosters thought-leadership content (which is a HUGE asset to have in the job hunt--trust me.) Your online presence always traces back to your website, especially if you're producing consistent, fresh content on a weekly basis.
The upside to this website development approach far outweighs the downside. Investing efforts into creating self-published content on a self-managed website shows a proactive approach to professional development (probably something desired in an operations manager) and also proves that you can juggle multiple activities at once (probably another qualifying factor of an operations professional).
If you have around 4-5 hours to invest per week in something like this, you should be able to get this off the ground, no problem. Innovation-Al Internet Marketing Consultants can help you build a simple site no problem with our affordable web design services (shameless self-promotion), and even help you in launching a blogging strategy to get a project like this underway.
In the end, it's all about defining your expertise, assessing your online presence, creating a value proposition and fostering a professional online presence. The layer of creativity comes in with your own expertise, Judy. Think of ways that you can represent your Operations management skills in the structure of the website and the content you produce.
Dear reader(s) (hopefully the plural), what other ways can you leverage expertise to develop a comprehensive personal brand experience?