“What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’ve heard this question your whole life. You’ve dreamed and hoped for what the future held and now, after sifting through options, you have a better idea of what you really want. Plus, you’ve put in years of work to get there. Yet, just as your dreams are becoming a reality, they start to crumble.
During normal times, employers browse stacks of applications to look for new employees. But what we face now is nothing short of a career nightmare. There are too many people unemployed, and not enough jobs. Many who are qualified are settling for jobs far from the dream job they once envisioned.
Online personal branding can help. Linda Evans, founder of the personal branding and career counseling business, Launched by Linda, knows how to make an online personal brand airtight. Her advice can help you can pick up the tattered pieces to reconstruct your dream now.
Dreaming in Specifics
Employers expect an online presence. If you can’t show a good personal reputation and brand for yourself, why would they trust you to do so for their company? And though online personal branding was already growing more important, now, it is crucial.
“You know how people say, if you didn’t take a picture it didn’t happen?” Evans said. “Well, that’s exactly it. Basically, if you’re not online, you don’t exist professionally. And if your presence is not strong online, people are not going to look for you.”
And what makes your online content strong? Specifics. Everything from dressing in profession-specific attire for posted pictures, to the details you give on your job title.
Evans shared how adding just one word to her profile led to more interaction with others. “It’s been amazing. The opportunities that have come to me as I refined my headline. I added ‘strengths-based career coach’ to my profile and then strangers started messaging me, asking, ‘Hey, do you want to teach a class on strengths?’”
Employers will only know exactly what you want if you tell them. Make sure to use this strategy in everything you post online.
Using the right tool
When talking to Evans, there was one thing in particular that kept resurfacing: Using your LinkedIn profile. Over 20,000 companies in the United States recruit from LinkedIn according to their February 2020 workforce report.. Employers value this platform as one of the best recruitment tools of our time.
“I’m kind of on this crusade to teach as many people about LinkedIn as possible,” Evans said. “That is the ultimate professional platform. If they’re not on LinkedIn. I don’t take them seriously.”
But in the public relations and communications industry alone, there are nearly 1,600,000 people who have a profile. You want to optimize that profile. You need your profile to be more than just another picture that employers click through.
Keeping things up-to-date and staying active will improve the professional look and feel of your profile. Don’t just let it fall by the wayside once you have completed the basics and use all of the features that are available. For more details, reference this article.
Continuing on your dream path
Evans said it best when she explained, “We can waste a lot of time and energy just getting frustrated or depressed about things that are way beyond our sphere of influence. You can focus on…. your resume and your network…you know, all those things, you can still do.”
Your online presence can’t stand without a foundation. There are still some general things that you must continue to do so that you become the professional you want to be.
Keep working on your resume. Make sure that it lines up with your personal brand and contains up-to-date information about your work experience. Work to develop virtual skills or receive certifications that will improve your resume.
You can also build your network even now. Who you connect with says a lot about who you are and what you want to become. Establishing connections with like-minded individuals in your industry can get you where you want to be.
Getting that dream job!
You can overcome the job freeze and get to your dream career by optimizing your online personal brand. These suggestions are your best path to getting there at this time. You can and will be able to stand out from the masses of job candidates.
Now that you’ve reached the “grown up” phase of life, don’t give up on what you want to be. The nightmare that you are facing can end if you take the necessary steps. Your broken dream can be reassembled to become an even stronger vision for your future career path.
To build a network, PRSSA students are encouraged to look into the Champions for PRSSA Database.
Niquelle Lewis is a student studying at Brigham Young University. She will graduate in April 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications (with a public relations emphasis). She currently works as a project manager in the BYU Careers and Experiential Learning Marketing and Events department and looks forward to future opportunities in the field.