The job search isn’t what it used to be. That’s for sure.
In fact, with hundreds of applicants for every job opening, the tactics that yield job offers have changed dramatically.
In part because of the volume and in part because of the competition, job seekers that stand out – job seekers whose personal brands are strongly differentiated – are the one’s that get job offers.
The most effective way to differentiate yourself is to show your skills.
Anyone can say that they are an expert, in anything. But, it actually takes skills to show them.
So when you are developing your brand – when you are deciding what you stand for, how you deliver it and why other people care – get outside of the box and come up with strategies that let you show your skills, rather than just talk about them.
Here are a few ways that job seekers have built their brands by showing their skills, rather than telling them.
Joe works in marketing email automation and he got three job offers from his strategy of sending automated emails and highly personalized emails to prospective hiring mangers. The emails showcased his ability to develop strategic content, write copy and code emails. Throughout the series he sold himself by showcasing relevant talent, skills and experience. Not only did this help him to stand out effectively, but it give assurance of his capabilities that would be near-impossible to achieve on a resume or a website.
Mark loves challenges. And as a back-end developer, he works on open source software for fun. This connected him with a vibrant community and gave him lots of opportunities to develop elegant solutions to complicated problems. So, when he started looking for a new job, Mark decided decided to pull together his open source contributions on a website, where he outlined the problems, demonstrated the solutions and showed his code. The transparency combined with his thriving network got him a new job, that he loves, quickly.
Sarah is a graphic designer. And she really needed a job. So badly that she cried during our first call. Before working with me, she designed several beautiful resumes that she felt really reflected her style and her personal brand, but they weren’t working. So, she reconsidered her strategy and started branding each resume differently, in line with the companies she was applying for, but with her own special twist. She thought that is was similar to designing the company a landing page. After seeing Sarah’s energy and skills applied to their own brands, the calls for interviews started rolling in and a few weeks later, Sarah had her choice of jobs!
Its rare to find a position or a service where you can’t show your skills to an employer. It just takes creativity and elbow grease.
If you want to be a social media consultant, build yourself a huge following on Twitter or, if you don’t have the social media chops yet, write out a week’s worth of tweets for your perspective employer. (Note: you should make it clear that they are free to use the content with or without choosing to talk with you!)
If you are an accountant, make case studies of serious challenges you’ve overcome or an info-graphic of your success in budgeting or being audited.
If you are a salesmen, make a call and close the deal. In fact, make 5, 6, 7 calls and get the interview. In a position where you are going to have to be persistent and follow up constantly, to be competitive, you have to show those skills while you are applying!
And just about anyone could start a blog that details the skills, learning and knowledge that is critical for their professional success.
The overarching idea is that, once you make the decision to define your brand, you need to go two steps further. You need to identify how you could show your brand, in addition to telling it. And then you have to do the work.