Your resume is used for a very specific purpose – to get interviews. While you might use other branding tools to help your job search, your resume is still the central personal branding vehicle in your job search.
The third part in our series of personal branding best practices deals with consistency.
Sure your resume’s brand sets the reader’s first impression, but it’s not the only thing employers check in the process. Eventually, if employers are interested in you, they’ll read the rest of your resume. They’ll talk to you and meet you, if they want to consider you. Employers routinely check social media profiles as well.
So your resume’s personal brand can’t stand alone.
This also means that your personal brand needs to be consistent with other information employers see about you and what you say when during phone and in-person interviews.
- Consistency with goals: This should seem obvious, but unfortunately it’s one of the most common resume branding mistakes I see, due to candidates trying to be all things to all people. Your personal brand has to be consistent with your goals – If your brand is inconsistent with your goals, it’s next to impossible to reach those goals. For example, if you’re looking for a job as a customer service manager for a cable company, brand yourself that way.
- Consistency with employer’s needs: If your personal brand doesn’t clearly show that you meet a specific employer’s needs, why would that employer contact you? When there are job shortages, companies aren’t forced to hire just anyone – instead hiring managers look for candidates who specifically fill their own individual needs. You could be the best candidate out there, but if you can’t clearly brand yourself as solving a specific employer’s needs, you give the impression that you’d be a great employee … for some other company.
- Consistency with social media: This is one of the toughest consistency tests to pass, so it’s an area of improvement for nearly every candidate. It’s critical because over 90% of employers report checking social media profiles before making job offers. While resume customization can brand you to be consistent with a specific employer’s needs, you can’t customize social media profiles for an individual reader. It’s a challenge because your resume can be dynamic, but your social media profiles are static. To accomplish consistency with social media, your profiles have to be broad enough to cover all of the types of jobs you plan on applying for. If you’re applying for every job on the map, you won’t be able to achieve this but if your job search is focused, you can accomplish social media consistency with your resume.
- Consistency with Google: Most employers do a Google search on candidates before making an offer. Some run Google searches prior to granting interviews. If you don’t know what a Google search reveals about you, then you’re going into job search blind – You could be doing everything right to get your next job, but Google searches could blow it for you. It’s not only unflattering information that can affect your search. When Google searches reveal information that’s inconsistent with your personal brand and resume, it raises employer doubt – If you were reviewing resumes where approximately 40% contained lies, wouldn’t you doubt inconsistencies identified via Google searches?
Solution – Manage your online brand to be consistent with your resume’s brand. If it’s not, then get some content out there that is consistent.
There are many moving parts involved with job search. Those separate parts can work together to strengthen your brand.
Alternatively, those separate pieces could work against each other, causing confusion and doubt in your reader’s eyes.
So it’s time to do a self-check: Is your resume’s personal brand consistent with other information employers use to evaluate candidates? Or are these individual data sources working against each other, making your job search more difficult?
Phil Rosenberg is President of http://www.reCareered.com, a leading job search information website and gives complimentary job search webinars at http://ResumeWebinar.com. Phil also runs the Career Central group, one of Linkedin’s largest groups for job seekers and has built one of the 20 largest personal networks on Linkedin globally.