Keeping your profile looking strong in your chosen field of work isn’t just important when you’re job hunting: if you want your career to progress successfully, it’s an ongoing marketing exercise you need to manage, refine and run throughout your whole career.
A few generations ago, people who changed jobs more than once or twice in their careers were labelled as “job hoppers” and considered a bit shifty and scatter-brained. That was back in the days when companies and public sector organisations often did offer “jobs for life” with a good pension at the end of them.
Now though, the whole employment picture operates in much shorter chunks, with employees expected to move on at reasonable intervals along with their transferable skills – in a zig-zag pattern of promotion through different organisations rather than (usually) in a vertical route with the same employer. This means paying close attention to marketing yourself, at all times.
How to manage your personal brand
First of all, keep a running file of your details – CV, personal statement, covering letter notes, etc. Update this file whenever there is a change in your circumstances or any major milestone in your current job … a new project successfully completed … a good testimonial from your line manager or a customer … anything that supports your expertise in whatever you do.
Ensure that your CV and other information contains the right keywords for you and your job hunting area, and see that it’s all in a format that’s easy and unfussy to upload to any interested parties.
If you’re a media “creative,” make sure your portfolio of samples is always up to date and ready to show, whether that’s in a folder, on your personal website, Facebook page (see below) or via other digital means.
If you haven’t already, get to grips with social media. As mentioned, if you have samples to show, set up a Facebook page separately from your personal page and upload your samples there. Set up a LinkedIn page and make sure that’s kept up to date with every success story or internal promotion. Consider posting on Twitter and hashtag your particular industry or business type.
Maintain links with your preferred recruitment agency and send them all your updates so their file will be as current as your own. That way when you decide it’s time for a change they can get things moving right away with no time wasted on hurried updating or information changes,
Whatever your line of work face-to-face networking is booming and you should build relevant connections in your area of specialism. Even if you don’t like the thought of it get out there and do it. Most cities now have active business groups and some specialised, e.g. finance, media, tech, meet ups. Your best place to look is MeetUp.com or start using plancast.com which will show you all your contacts events. If you want the traditional option then check your local IOD or Chamber Of Commerce – they are likely to have a list of groups for you to choose from.
Online business networking is also very valuable and on sites like LinkedIn there are thousands of specialised groups for all imaginable industry areas. Join them – they’re free and can provide you with some extremely useful information to help you in your work, not to mention equally useful contacts to warm up when the time comes for you to change your job.
Be sure to be professional at all times in your current job. Avoid gossip “by the water cooler” and wherever you are – in a pub, restaurant or any public place – don’t bad-mouth either your employer or its competitors. Walls have ears and you never know who might repeat what you say, to the wrong person.
Avoid, if you can, getting too close and personal with colleagues. Office affairs often turn sour and create a very difficult atmosphere at work, not to mention the probability that you will get a reputation for being less than professional.
Online, be very careful what you say about your work, competitors and colleagues on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube. It’s a well-known fact that some recruiters will Google candidates and check out what they’re saying about their professional life online. You know how far-reaching Google is. It will find you and whatever inappropriate thing you have said, which could damage your reputation for some years to come. Keep your online footprint clean and tidy!
If you any personal experiences of managing your profile and career succesfully we would love to hear them in the comments or maybe you would like to be interviewed on the subject. Either way I’d love to hear in the comments below.