How to Market Yourself Online and Land Your Dream Job
Employability skills are the skills needed to become a viable option for employers. They are best defined as those skills and traits, often having to do with one’s personality, which allow an individual to carry out their duties efficiently. These stand apart from the ‘hard skills’ employers look for, which concern the technical expertise and understanding required to carry out tasks.
Having these skills shine through on your CV, social media profiles and cover letter will allow you to make a good first impression before you even walk into the interview room. This is especially important considering that landing an interview might be the most important step in your job search. Research shows that an employer who invites you to interview for a job already thinks you’re a good fit, because your CV, cover letter, supporting documentation, and online profile have already shown them that you’ve got the skills and experience they’re looking for.
However, these skills can go unnoticed if you fail to market yourself properly. Learning how to market yourself online is, in some ways, as important as being good at your job. We have provided a few tips and strategies which will enable you to develop and maintain an online presence that leverages the opportunities offered by today’s digital economy, allowing you to stand out to employers and land your dream job.
How to market yourself online:
The internet is the most powerful tool available to individuals looking to market themselves to employers. Here’s how you can leverage the hyperconnectivity of our digital age in order to increase your employability:
Know who you are
Present yourself as a specialist
Network using as many online channels as possible
Think outside the box
1. Know who you are
In order to properly market yourself and convince employers that you have the employability and personal skills as well as the professional expertise necessary for the job, you’ll need to carefully edit and organise your online channels.
Before you can do this, you must first have a crystal-clear idea of:
who you are,
what your main strengths and weaknesses are,
what your chief selling point is.
Most of us are not as in-tune with our personalities as we may think we are. Even if you think you know yourself well enough, take some time to ask those you spend most time with for their honest appraisals. Those around us can often provide much more accurate descriptions about our behavioural tendencies than we can; learning from these and using them to paint a more complete picture of our psyche is necessary if we want to effectively market ourselves.
Alternatively, you could try any of the personality tests which have grown in popularity over the Internet in the past few years. Be warned, some of these are more reputable that others, but here are a few that can provide you with useful insights:
Of course, once you get to know yourself, you might find that there are certain deficiencies which need ironing out before you can realistically apply for the jobs you want. Consider enrolling in online or face-to-face courses which add to your employability skills. If you have trouble getting your ideas across at work, perhaps an effective communication skills course would help.
Similarly, if you’re either too assertive or too reserved, you can enrol on an assertiveness skills course. Learning when and how to utilise assertive communication styles and discerning how others perceive your behaviour are skills which are bound to come in handy in the workplace, whether you’re navigating office politics or working on projects with colleagues.
If you’re looking to make the leap to a management position, consider earning a certificate in leadership. Learning how you cope with situations in which you’re expected to lead and manage others will allow you to understand how to improve your performance as a leader. There are several leadership and management courses which can provide you with valuable skills and techniques should you land a management job.
After taking a course or two to gain the skills you needed to develop, it is important to be able to demonstrate this. Include a few lines about why you enrolled on these courses in your CV. Employers will be impressed by your ability to self-evaluate and grow.
2. Present yourself as a specialist
After establishing your personality, strengths and weaknesses, and selling point, the next step is to create a profile and focus it around one or two long term goals or specialisations. While employers might be impressed by multi-taskers, they will value experts much more.
How you present yourself should follow naturally from your job experience and the skills required for the role you’re looking for. For example, someone who has worked as an account man for an advertising agency, and who is now looking for a similar role, would do well to present himself as an experienced negotiator with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to manage a large portfolio of senior stakeholders.
Not every skill you have needs to be listed; some skills, while great, may not necessary improve employability. Our ad agency candidate would not need to include his proficiency with Adobe Photoshop for instance, because while nice to have, it is unlikely to be one of the main skills employers in the industry are looking for.
Mentioning the fact that he has a working proficiency in one or two foreign languages would, however, be a great addition to his profile if he is looking to apply to agencies with international clientele.
Building a concise narrative which reflects both what you can currently bring to the table and what you want to achieve in the long run will provide prospective employers with a good idea of what they can expect from you without taking up too much of their time.
In summary, your social media profiles should:
present a uniform narrative
emphasise relevant skills, both personal and technical
3. Market your problem-solving skills
Employers value problem solvers. This is a quite self-evident remark but one which is vital to consider when marketing yourself online. The only reason an employer hires someone is because they believe that individual can solve a perceived deficiency within their company.
The best way to position yourself as a solution to your employer’s needs is by providing examples of how your strengths and expertise have allowed you to deal with difficult situations in the past. Presenting yourself in a way which sets you apart from the competition should be your main objective. While using descriptors such as “creative” or “hard-working” is a good start, emphasising how you’ve used these skills in innovative ways will help you to stand out among the millions of people who have listed the same attributes on their CVs.
Try using as many keywords relating to your field as you can on your personal website and social media profiles. This will make it easier for recruiters to find you, as your profile will appear in searches for industry specific keywords (which recruiters and hiring managers routinely undertake).
4. Network, network, network!
Marketing yourself online has never been easier than today. Most platforms will allow companies to have a presence on them, allowing professionals to interact with the employers they want to work with. Whichever channel you choose to use, make sure that each and every one of your online profiles prominently showcase your areas of focus and the main skills which set you apart.
Consistency is key when you start networking online; ensure your name and username is the same for each profile you create and that your contact details are consistently correct. Recruiters and hiring managers should be able to view any of the profiles you’ve put up online and form the same opinion of you, as an individual and as a professional.
Of course, you shouldn’t only rely on recruiters reaching out to you. Once your online presence is optimised, you need to start researching potential employers. Apart from the well-known LinkedIn, sites such as CareerOneStop or Jobstar can also be helpful as they allow you to search generally in a particular field or narrowly within specific companies.
After doing your research and settling on a few companies you’d like to work for, start networking. The most obvious way to interact with companies you’d like to work for is simply through messaging them directly. Make sure you’re always respectful and that you stick clearly to the concise profile and selling points you’ve built.
5. Think outside the box
Don’t just stick to these more traditional networking avenues; you can:
Interact with and retweet posts of companies and their senior employees on Facebook and LinkedIn
Showcase your work on social media platforms (with the accompanying post containing industry relevant keywords and hashtags)
Create a video CV and post it on your profiles as well as on YouTube
Similarly, don’t limit yourself to companies you want to work for and their staff; interacting with well-known bloggers and influencers within your industry can also add to your online presence and impress potential employers. For example, for someone looking for a job in journalism, an interaction with a famous blogger which leads to their work being featured on that person’s blog could lead to that all-important career break.
Why are employability skills important?
Nowadays, employers want more than just a degree and some relevant work experience. They are looking for people who will fit right into the company’s culture, work well with others, and contribute to a pleasant and productive work environment. Employability skills play a pivotal role in the hiring process and jobseekers must brush up on these in order to land a good job.
While during the interview employers will be more interested in the hard skills which determine whether you have the professional expertise necessary, the initial exploratory stages will be spent analysing your personal profile. Employers usually already know you’d be a good fit for their company’s environment once they’ve called you up for an interview. How do they know? Through your online presence.
Even if you possess the requisite professional qualifications for the job, your online activity might jeopardise your chances of landing the job you want. For example, if your online profile presents you as someone who engages in many different projects without completing them, then a company who values persistence might lose interest.
Similarly, if your CV states that you are great with people and possess excellent negotiation skills, it would not be a good idea to have an argumentative comment thread public on your profile. Once you land an interview, going through our interview checklist will help you be well prepared to approach anything your interviewer might throw your way.
The obvious next step would be to make your CV stand out by engaging in a few simple but effective tweaks. Following the guide linked above will allow you to take your CV to the next level, and in conjunction with your new and improved online presence you’re sure to land the job you deserve.
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