Expert Series

5 Personal Branding Tips from Joshua Waldman

Written by Grovo

You’re probably a pretty charming person in real life. Hundreds of Facebook friends can’t be wrong, right? Unfortunately, your online projection of your professional life is likely not as compelling to potential hirers as you might like. “For a hiring manager to make a decision about you, they need to have three things answered,” says personal branding expert Joshua Waldman in Grovo’s learning track, “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding.” “Do I like you; are you motivated; and can you do the job?

Every job seeker needs to put a unique projection into the world, the goal of which is to ensure that, apart from your qualifications and experience, you seem like the right kind of person to the companies looking to hire you. Here, culled from Grovo’s learning track, are five tips to make you seem like just the person for the job.

  1. You are not a commodity. I know, it seems counterintuitive based on what most educational institutions, and conventional wisdom, tell you. But in this modern age, when employers encounter you digitally before encountering you in person “over 80% of the time,” according to Waldman, your goal isn’t to come off as robotically competent. You want to show personality and spunk… professionally.

  2. Ditch the power verbs. The oldest trick in the world of resumes is using high-impact “power verbs” that we imagine make our job experiences leap off the page. Keep that for the paper version of your resume if you want — although there’d be no arguments here if the hirers of the world collectively announced that job seekers should cease using those stupid words — but they’re not as useful for your LinkedIn profile. Those words impact a human reader, but online, that’s only half of your audience. The other half is search engines. Keywords and nouns are as important to online branding as ‘executed’ and ‘spearheaded’ are to your paper resume. “The paradigm for the online resume is about creating a personal experience,” says Waldman, one that “needs to be extractable by machines so you can be indexed and show up on search results.” Spearhead that.

  3. Apply what you know from Facebook friending to your job search. Real life networking is still hugely important. If anything, LinkedIn has made it more so. Facebook, for example, is an augmentor of your offline interactions. Though some friends of yours are people you can barely remember meeting, the vast majority are people who you’ve had some interaction with in real life. LinkedIn works the same way: it is a tool to transpose your offline networking online. The importance of in-person networking in the online-job-search era is therefore more important than ever. With great LinkedIn connections comes great network expansion.

  4. Use Amazon’s Reading List on LinkedIn. “First, the book cover itself is going to add color,” to your LinkedIn profile. “Second, if one of those two books that appear on your profile are industry-relevant and easily recognizable, you communicate a lot of your personal brand. You show them you’re motivated.” This is a great way to convey that you’re actually motivated in learning what you need to know to excel at the industry you’re trying to be hired in.

  5. Have the same profile picture across platforms. The goal is to establish consistency in tone and substance across all platforms. The most eye-catching way to subvert this is by having a vastly different profile picture on LinkedIn than on, say, Google+. Waldman: “Your profile picture becomes an icon, like a desktop icon for an application.” Suppose you were trying to open Microsoft Word, but the icon kept changing. It’d be harder to locate. “Your picture becomes a very fast representation of who you are, and this is the primary element of your brand.”

Above all, remember that when a business is looking to hire, they’re looking to hire a person, not a conglomeration of job titles and obscure verbs. “Unfortunately a lot of people who start their job search are focused on ‘can you do the job.’ But decisions are not made there. Decisions are made on who you are,” says Waldman. Be who you are, then, and let your resume stand for a real human being.

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