Posted May 20, 2014 by

Brand Yourself: 6 Ways to Make You an Attractive Hire

"Who are you" question written on chalkboard

“Who are you” question written on chalkboard. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When you graduate from school and enter the workforce, chances are (from a paper standpoint) you resemble thousands of other applicants. You need a way to stand out from the job pool.

That’s where branding comes in. Branding is about becoming the applicant you want to be based on your ideal job. Branding is not about lying on your résumé; it’s about marketing yourself, playing up the experience you have, and helping an employer understand why you’re a good hire. Branding makes you more attractive, so here are a few tips on how to do it.

Package Yourself for the Job

Be aware of what employers in your industry are looking for and dress the part. An interview is like a casting call; they want someone who’s right for the role. Help yourself by being that someone. This applies to your paperwork, website, clothing, business cards, and body language, too. Remember to package yourself effectively if you want employers to take you seriously.

Intern/Volunteer

Choose your internships (and volunteer initiatives) deliberately, not only for the job experience, but for the connections you’ll make. During an internship or volunteer position, you should:

  • Prove that you can take on more responsibility.
  • Work hard.
  • Be reliable.
  • Ask thoughtful questions (taking care to respect your co-workers’ time).

At the end of your internship/volunteer position, ask to keep in touch and/or inquire about a reference. Stay in touch periodically with those you meet. Take care to list the skills you learned during your time working there on your résumé.

Create a Digital Portfolio

It’s time to showcase your skills digitally. Content on personal websites varies but many feature:

  • An electronic yet printable résumé
  • Writing samples or visual media
  • A video message or interview
  • A blog/video blog about your industry/profession
  • Links to your (work appropriate) social media profiles

Next, you’ll need to shop for domains (select your name and not a gimmicky URL) and choose a web host — make sure you check out independent reviews of web hosts before making a decision, though. Once you’ve chosen a host that meets your needs, it’s time to create content that demonstrates your skills and showcases your abilities. Once you’ve mastered creating your own website, you have more skills to add to your résumé!

Continue Learning

Graduation isn’t the end of learning — at least it shouldn’t be. Include a section on your website or on your résumé about what you’re working on. For instance: mastering Photoshop or learning Spanish.

Make the most of this section by:

  • Refraining from listing too many things. You’ll seem scattered/unfocused.
  • Using it to fill in gaps in your training and to show you’re in charge of your own education.
  • Being honest. Don’t list something for the sake of listing it. If you do, you run the risk of the employer asking specifics. If you don’t have them, you’re not only underqualified, but they’ll have a hard time believing the other details, too.

Dedication to self-education shows employers you’re up for a challenge and advancement is important to you.

Borrow From the Job Description

Search for a job description of your dream job or one you’re applying for. Use it to:

  • Rewrite your résumé skills section. Matching your skills to what the job requires will get you noticed.
  • Reword your résumé using the language in the job description. Don’t copy and paste verbatim. If they’re looking for “hard-working,” add a similar word to your résumé to describe yourself.
  • Reframe your cover letter or comments section to show how you’re a good fit. Give specific, concrete examples from your work/volunteer history.

Do the Work for Them

The employer will spend less than 30 seconds on your résumé. Make the time count by helping him or her draw the correlation between what he or she sees on paper and why you’ll be a great hire. Don’t think because you write “managed 20 projects” that the employer will know you’re a hard worker. Spell it out on your résumé and tell them in person. Do the work for them and then do it again.

Standing out from the pool of applicants is all about understanding what the employer is looking for. Once you know, marrying your skills and talents to that need will help you get noticed and make you more attractive to the employer.

Author Bio:

Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer from Tampa, Florida. He enjoys learning about new subjects, following his Baltimore Orioles, and traveling the country for fishing. You can find Joe on Twitter at @joey_fort.

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