Branding

In the field of public relations, understanding the concept of a brand is not only key and valuable, but also job determining.

A company builds itself around a notion, a product or an image- its brand. A brand is defining and incredibly persuasive. It’s the most powerful tool of any business. You know this. You’ve learned this in all of your PR courses.

So, when you apply for your first job this is what you do…

Being the over-achieving applicant, you study the brand like it’s your new life manual. At the interview, you do everything right.

You dress professionally, have your portfolio and resume and most importantly, show up early. The secretary escorts you into a room that could ultimately change your life, and you take a seat in front of, who you hope to be, a fellow employee in the near future. The employer is thinking “Well dressed, punctual, seems nice- and exactly like the other 20 people that just walked through this door.” He asks you to talk about yourself, curious to know what sets you apart from the rest.

You draw a blank. That wasn’t in your life manual. You quickly flip through the pages, mentally– nothing. Nervously, you look to your resume, hoping to find the answer you may have squeezed in on the black and white, all-telling document of the last four years of your life.

Understanding who you are, what you’re all about and what your own brand is can be just as important as it is to understand the brand of a future employer.

How will you stick out from all of the other applicants? How can you market yourself for any job you desire?

Here are a couple tips to begin developing your own professional brand.

  1. Discover and embrace your key personality traits.
  2. Define what type of worker you are.
  3. Admit to your obsessions and hobbies.
  4. Determine goals you’d like to achieve.
  5. What kind of impact would you like to have?
  6. What field of PR do you want to work in?

After you establish the items on this list, make it known.

Whether you do so by creating an online portfolio, editing your social media pages or networking and verbally telling people- share your brand.

Market yourself. Know who you are. After all, how can a company expect you to protect and improve their brand if you’re brand-less yourself?

How to professionally brand yourself through Social Media

We have all heard PR horror stories involving the termination of an employee due to their social media postings, but can social media help you get a job? Yes – if you brand yourself correctly. In terms of social media, LinkedIn is very useful for connecting with your favorite companies, following insider trends, and meeting individuals within your field. Within certain fields you can even apply for a job through LinkedIn and use your user information, but LinkedIn isn’t the only social media tool involved with professionally branding yourself.

When searching for potential employees HR managers and recruiters typically look through which social media platforms you participate in, but they aren’t always necessarily looking for something bad. According to Ciphr, hiring managers are actually looking to “see how well you will fit into the corporate culture, to see how creative you are, and to learn more about your qualifications.” (2014).

Here are some tips to whip your social media sites into shape, without loosing your own personal touch.

1. Using Pinterest? Create a unique resume. Pin images toward the top of your boards with your resume, sample works, and previous job experiences. It is easy to upload your own information and links to Pinterest, making a CV a simple feat to tackle. Don’t forget to tag yourself with specific tags! If you are looking for an agency job use certain hashtags such as, #corporate, #agency, and/or #office. Your resume and sample works will come together effortlessly and professionally with minimal work.

2. Instagram your experiences! Are you an intern? Photograph your desk in the morning showing followers the type of work you do in the office. Upload photos from trade shows, conferences, and other networking opportunities. Follow your favorite corporate brands and get involved. Many companies are joining Instagram to re-vamp their brands. Pay attention to what they are doing, and generate ideas for your own company.

3. Tweet-happy? Describe what you are looking for in your biography. Use hashtags to direct people toward your profile, and use a professional photo that depicts you in a positive light. Share company articles, share personal blogs, and add your own flare to your posts. If you are a foodie, take photos of food and intertwine them throughout your posts. If you are looking for a job in global PR, follow and interact with people from different countries. NETWORK! Tweet professionals and get their opinions on articles, and keep up with them! You never know when someone will be speaking near you, and this is a great way to stay up to date.

4. Facebook users. Clean up your photos, and make sure they reflect you. Become a fan of your favorite companies (and your favorite personal TV shows and movies). Even though you are cleaning up your page, don’t lose your identity completely. Liking music and causes make you seem more down to earth. Join these groups, but think before you post.

Bonus: Most professionals are highly underfollowed. People within your field of study have 500+ connections on LinkedIn, and they receive InMail everyday. It may seem like a daunting task attempting to connect with them. Public relations professionals typically have less followers, and pay attention to people who comment on their photos. Show interest, use hashtags, and relate yourself to what they are posting. It is a new way to get noticed! Tagging your favorite blogger in a new article will gain their attention in a good way.

Though your social media platforms may be hard to keep up with, it will always prove beneficial in the end. With more and more companies and individuals joining everyday, there are always new ways to promote yourself. Using these tools above (while adding your own personal touches) might just help you land your dream job!