When it comes to personal branding, you can invest all the time and effort you want in to creating well-worded profiles, resumes, cover letters, and “About Me” websites, but if you don’t back up your written communications with constructive interactions, all of that work will be for nothing.
Your personal brand is best developed through positive experiences with people. You need to make a good impression through the actions you take throughout the job search process. Not just in your writing communications, but through the interactions you have with various stakeholders throughout the course of the application process.
Here are some tips on how to ensure you don’t let your actions sully your reputation.
Be responsive. If you’re job searching – you should respond quickly to potential employers who are contacting you regarding your application. Check your e-mail and voicemail every day and get back to people as soon as possible. This shows interest and energy while being unresponsive can portray you as being disinterested or a poor communicator.
Be friendly. When you interact with people through the process, be amiable and upbeat towards the people with whom you communicate. Make small talk, ask how people are or about their weekend plans. Show that you can connect well with others.
Be confident. Make good eye contact with people – that doesn’t mean you have to stare creepily into their eyes without ever breaking their gaze, but if you are constantly avoiding eye contact, it can send the message that you lack confidence. Good posture, a firm handshake, and speaking loud enough (not too loud) and clearly all will help you portray yourself as being confident.
Do what is asked of you. If the company asks you references, send them right away (or hand them a nicely formatted list of references). If they give you an application for employment to fill out – fill out the whole thing – never write in the blanks “see resume”. They’ve already seen your resume and you’ll just come across as being lazy.
You have to remember that your actions during an application process send a message to the people who are considering whether or not to hire you. If you don’t communicate well or follow directions, are slow to respond, or are unfriendly – the potential employer can easily assume that this is how you would act as an employee within their organization.
Mike Spinale is a corporate Human Resources leader at a healthcare information technology company located outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. He has over eight years of experience in HR and management including career counseling, recruitment, staffing, employment branding, and talent management. Mike has dedicated his HR career to modern views on the field – HR is not about the personnel files – it’s about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they’re in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. In addition, Mike is the author of the CareerSpin blog where he offers advice and opinion on job search, personal & employment branding, recruiting, and HR. Mike is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College. He is also a board member of the Metro-North Regional Employment Board, a board which sets workforce development policy for Boston’s Metro-North region, and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.