I am reading books on new-age methods for finding employment, essentially utilizing social media and creating an online presence to build a personal brand. (A personal website should be the centerpiece of it all.) In a difficult job market, some of these methods are useful: show career vision (skill set), add professional connections, draw recruiters and potential employers to you (pull approach), and provide a striking appearance of you (a multi-dimensional, social resume). However, I think many of the experts leave out properly addressing a target audience and therefore, often cater to the elite. Not everyone can have thousands of Twitter followers or hundreds of LinkedIn connections, and many of us do not have Google or Microsoft on our radar as a potential employer. Yet I think most professionals benefit in building a personal brand.
When I think of effective targeting, I think of a phrase an Italian friend says to me about expanding his business; his slogan is “Gotta Guy”. He is a handyman, so in his context it refers to finding someone who can do a particular job locally; for example, it might refer to a plumber, woodworker, electrician, and so on. However, I think it works in a much broader context. You can become “that guy” or “that gal” for just about anything (including many of our service professions): “website guy” or “graphics gal” or “SEO guy” or “computer guy” or “bank gal” or “accountant guy”… And with the internet and social media you can connect to your own ecosystem – clients, associates, and employers. The boundaries of your ecosystem might be defined by where you live, an alumni network, past or present employers, personal connections, and perhaps other societal factors. In this way, by using specific targeting, you are not taking a “pie in the sky” approach but rather a coordinated approach to developing a personal brand. For example, in social media, effective targeting might put more value in the quality of connections, rather than the quantity of them.
Introducing a pull approach while you seek employment can be highly efficient and effective. Publish your skill set in LinkedIn and MonsterJobs and give recruiters an opportunity to find you and, once they find you, show them the “best you” on a personal website.
A great brand is only truly powerful when you get it in the hands of the right people.[i]
Another example of the “that guy” approach can be found in regional business networking organizations. Think about the setup of a typical Business Network International (“BNI”) group. Each person is guaranteed a unique identity within the group. For example, there is one accountant, graphic designer, insurance agent, website developer, banker, etc.. The organization meets to share leads, springboard ideas, and build rapport within the community. So with personal branding, you take the “that guy” approach online and utilize social media to build your network. You may or may not be constrained by the community you live in; nevertheless, you should be able to carve out your own niche. To differentiate in a larger network, you may need to add a qualifier based on your strengths or knowledgebase. Still the idea is to build a personal brand by becoming… “that guy”.
[i] Nelson Wang. The Resume is Dead (Self-published, 2012).
Original Image © Depositphoto/deniscristo #13973710