“Choose your self-presentations carefully, for what starts out as a mask may become your face.” —Erving Goffman, author of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
A great presentation looks effortless to the audience, but anyone who has presented knows that success demands no small amount of research, practice, revisions, and nerves. To excel in these elements, you must have the right marketing tools.
While the content of your career is unchangeable, the way you present yourself can differ depending on the situation. Through self-discovery you can identify your career goals, and a personal brand helps to highlight your key value as an employee. With this knowledge, you can develop a range of tools to score your next job, cultivate your network, and develop your professional reputation.
How will your resume and cover letter best represent you?
The most basic self-marketing tool is the resume. There are two general formats for resumes: chronological, in which you list your work experience starting with your most recent; or combination, in which the bulk of your resume addresses specific skills. Chronological resumes are useful when you’re seeking the traditional next step in a career, or simply as a summary of your career to keep on hand. Combination resumes are common for career changers or other non-traditional job seekers — which, as it turns out, is most job seekers.
Many job applications also require a cover letter, which provides you the opportunity to explain your interest in the position or company and to describe how your skills and experience meet the employer’s needs. A great cover letter will connect the dots between your resume and the position you’re applying for. Regardless of whether it’s required, providing a cover letter demonstrates initiative and provides the opportunity to drive home your value as a strong candidate.
What additional self-marketing tools will make you stand out?
As networking and job seeking becomes increasingly digital, your career toolbelt will need to expand to include virtual platforms. Many people start with LinkedIn and other social media, as well as a personal website or digital portfolio.
LinkedIn — In the early or middle stages of your career, a profile on LinkedIn will be incredibly helpful to expand your network and job prospects. You can connect with professional contacts, join groups and follow topics relevant to your interests, and maintain an up-to-date profile of your achievements. The platform also includes job postings, although it shouldn’t be the only place you look during an active search.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. — Other social media platforms can be useful, but many people choose to keep these personal. If you’re not going to use social media in the professional sphere, be strict in your privacy settings. Limiting personal social media contact with employers and colleagues will also help establish a good work-life balance. If you do plan to use platforms such as Twitter or Instagram to advance your career, ensure that your activity aligns with your personal brand. Share updates and achievements, celebrate the same in others, and don’t be afraid to interact with people you admire.
Personal Website or Digital Portfolio — For those who are self-employed, a website will serve as your contacts’ and potential clients’ primary way of learning about your services and getting in touch with you. A digital portfolio is a collection of your best works and achievements, but it doesn't have to be tailored or limited like a resume. Portfolios are essential to people in creative fields, and can also be useful for documenting projects, events, and other instances where your expertise shines.
How will you communicate your unique value and skills?
Your valuable attributes might be easy or difficult to identify. If the certifications, degrees, and specialized skills relevant to your prospective role are common among candidates, you’ll have to highlight the qualities that make you exceptional. These qualifiers are likely to differ from one position or employer to the next. You must do thorough research and tailor your resume for each application. Ensure that you’re addressing the most important aspects of the role in your resume and cover letter, while conveying any common interests and values with the company.
Many digital applications have opportunities to link to your LinkedIn profile and other online presence. Virtual profiles and portfolios can feature accomplishments that may not make it to the resume. Employers also get the chance to get a better grasp of your capabilities through work samples or recommendations. Whatever you provide to an organization, contact, or potential client should be true to you, and with the proper marketing tools, you have the power to present your best self.
Looking for more information?
Set up a virtual meeting with one of our certified Career Coaches through the Book a Learning Coach form or by calling 803-929-3400. After you submit, we will contact you to set an appointment. Our team provides help with interviewing skills, your résumé, interest/skills assessments, and more. Follow Richland Library on LinkedIn for career development tips and tidbits.