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7 Personal Branding Trends for Job Search

Personal Branding

1. Headshots Everywhere

Do you have a professional headshot?

People want to connect a face with a name. We have come to expect a photo alongside a blog post, Facebook profile and online article. People are less likely to click on a photo-less LinkedIn profile; and they’re less inclined to believe Web-based content if the picture of the person who contributed it is missing. Yet many people are still reluctant to post their photo to the Web. Some fear age discrimination in hiring; others just aren’t happy with the photos they have. Since it’s becoming common for hiring managers and recruiters to use Google and social networks to find candidates, your first impression could be your LinkedIn profile or other online content.

What does this mean for you? Ensure those who are researching you get to connect a face with a name and credentials. Because there are so many places where your photo will appear — from your Google profile to your You Tube channel or about.me page — get a series of professional headshots and upload them to your social network profiles and Flickr or Picassa account. You don’t want someone doing a Google image search and seeing one photo replicated 30 times.

2. Crowdsourcing for Professionals

What do others say about you?

You’re only as good as the collective opinions of those who know you. Consultants have always understood the value of client feedback. Now, with the ease of requesting and providing recommendations, you too must be mindful of the power of external reviews. Virtually every new social network or app includes the opportunity to request and display reviews. LinkedIn calls them recommendations, BranchOut and BeKnown call them endorsements. Honestly.com calls them reviews. Regardless of what you call them, they’re extremely important to those who are making decisions about you. A Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey determined that 90% of consumers trust peer reviews. Although no research to my knowledge has been done about this topic as it relates to people, I predict we will quickly become accustomed to using crowdsourcing to make decisions about each other.

What does this mean for you? If you are looking for a job, what others say about you will be critical to getting hired. Get out there and get testimonials, recommendations and endorsements and make them visible through various social media and your own Web site. Hiring managers will be dubious of those without any external recommendations.

3. Personal QR Codes

Do you have a QR code?

QR codes are taking off in all kinds of ways that weren’t originally anticipated. For example, according to brandchannel.com, it’s now possible to place extremely large QR codes on the tops of buildings that will be photographed by the satellites that feed Google Maps. The QR code will cause a logo of that company to appear when someone looks at their building’s images on Google. Putting a giant QR code on the top of your house may not be the best way to land a job. But you do have the opportunity to use QR codes to point those who are evaluating you to your Web sites, blogs and other relevant career marketing content. I have seen QR codes on the top of resumes, on business cards and on networking name-badges. Vizibility.com allows you to customize what people see when they click on your QR code – and change it often, so you can direct hiring managers to the perfect presentation of your capabilities.

What does this mean for you? You have a great opportunity to direct recruiters to the content you want them to see. If one of your brand attributes is ‘innovative,’ think about how you can use QR codes to tell others what you want them to know about you. If you’re a more seasoned professional and want to demonstrate that you’re innovative and on top of the latest trends, using QR codes on your resume and business card is like digital Botox. It will demonstrate that you are connected to what’s happening.

4. Job Postings R.I.P.

Are you relying on job postings in your search?

Job postings are inefficient. Many unqualified candidates apply — especially in a down economy. The volume of resumes received can be unmanageable. As social networks make it easier to identify qualified potential hires, job postings will become obsolete. More and more, when hiring managers and recruiters have an open position, they’ll scour the Internet and reach out to their social networks to find the perfect candidate. When SHRM conducted research in 2011, they learned that 56% of HR managers use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to source candidates (it was 34% in 2010). The number one reason they’re using social media in this way is to recruit passive candidates (84%). The Facebook app, BeKnown, finds and recommends jobs for you based on your skills and experience (from your profile) — before you even do a search.

What does this mean for you? It’s becoming more likely that your next job will come to you — if your virtual brand is visible and compelling. Ensure your social network profiles are engaging and up-to-date. And make sure you use all the appropriate keywords in everything you post online so you’ll be found by those who seek your expertise.

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2 Comments
  1. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your
    articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.
    However imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your
    posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent
    but with pics and video clips, this blog could definitely be
    one of the greatest in its niche. Terrific blog!

    • I’m so glad you found the articles useful. Thank you for the suggestion on how to improve the content! I have been considering adding some videos and hope to be able to do so very soon. I hope you will check back again.
      Tina