I saw on the news that 6.6 MILLION people have applied for unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic. This makes my heart hurt.
Aside from social distancing, I wanted to help any way I knew how. So I’ve put together eight essential personal branding moves you should make right now to ready yourself in this unstable job market.
Whether you are still gainfully employed or if you’ve recently been let go, these steps are some of the best things you can do to position yourself for whatever lies ahead.
Personal Branding Moves to Make Right Now
Here are some things you can do right now to help yourself during this time of uncertainty.
1. Update your résumé.
It’s always wise to have your latest and greatest résumé ready to go. Update it with your most recent experience and accomplishments. If you can, include figures and data to illustrate the value you’ve added in all of your roles.
Rather than relying on a plain Word document, consider the gorgeous resume templates you can find on Canva (and they are FREE!). The small design details will make you more memorable (remember Elle Woods and her pink resume?!) Here are a few of Canva’s templates.
2. Organize your portfolio.
I know there are a ton of amazing projects you’ve worked on in your career. Now is your time to compile them all! This way, when you’re in front of a potential employer, you can show vs. tell.
Think about systems you’ve built, posts that you’ve written, videos you’ve edited, photos you’ve taken, or collateral you’ve designed. If the evidence of your work is less tangible (maybe you are a make-up artist or personal trainer) collect testimonials, personal recommendations, or photos to illustrate what you can do.
3. Register a domain.
Social media is great, but if you really want to own your brand, you need to own your domain! This typically costs less than $20 takes just a few minutes.Visit a domain registrar like GoDaddy and search yourname.com. If you have a common name and it’s unavailable, try a domain address that is relevant to your industry. For instance, if you are a realtor, you can secure yournamerealty.com. Or choose a different extension over .com, such as .me.
4. Rewrite your professional bio.
When was the last time you fine-tuned your LinkedIn profile or the bios you have on various social media sites? Your bio is your first chance to make an impression and compel audiences to work with or contact you. It’s also your opportunity to communicate who you are, what you do, and frankly, why you are awesome.
Don’t squander this by writing a canned, boring bio. Let your personality shine, and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
5. Take new headshots.
Can you think of a better quarantine activity? You can take decent pictures for your professional profiles right on your phone. Dress yourself up and do a mini photoshoot around your house or in your backyard. Quick tip: you can even use a shower curtain as a backdrop!
If your images need a little extra TLC, you can edit them in a free app like Snapseed. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color balance until you have the perfect photo.
6. Build a personal website.
Ah yes… all the other tips were leading up to this! Your personal website is your own personal hub online. It’s where you can house your resume, portfolio, and contact information all in one place.
The good news is, you don’t need to know how to code to make a stunning website. You can use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace, which offer dozens of personal branding templates that anyone can easily edit.
If you want to connect your website to your custom domain, there is a small fee but it is well worth it! Otherwise, you can create a free site using Wix or Squarespace’s branded URLs.
7. Design your logo.
Just like building a website, this is another step that may sound intimidating if you have no design experience, but it’s 2020 — there are resources for EVERYTHING!
But first, I want to redefine how you envision a logo. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy! A logo can simply be your name in a consistent font and color(s) of your choice! If you’d like, add a symbol and you are good to go.
Again, Canva has your back! They have dozens, or possibly hundreds, of pre-designed logos that you can customize and make your own. Here are a few samples:
8. Start blogging.
Okay, I know this sounds like another big undertaking, but blogging is when you truly take your career development into your own hands. An 8.5″x11″ PDF resume is not enough to show the world your capabilities. A blog will demonstrate your perspectives, expertise, and skills on a larger scale vs. withholding it within the walls of your current job.
With every blog post, you have the potential to unlock opportunities. If you prefer, you can also make videos or start a podcast. The point is, don’t hide your knowledge.
Most Wix or Squarespace templates have a blogging functionality built right into the platform — score!
If you’ve never blogged before, it’s okay. Your writing does not have to be perfect. Just start.
Finding Your Niche
You may be telling yourself that there are already a ton of bloggers in your field, so what’s the point? This is when I always quote one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert:
It may have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by YOU. ~Elizabeth Gilbert
The biggest thing to remember when building your personal brand is to make it PERSONAL. Don’t fall into the cookie-cutter influencer world. Embrace your personality quirks and share your true colors. Your unique experiences and perspective is what will make you stand out.
If you need help defining your brand’s niche and where to go from here, download my free niche finder workbook. It’s packed with eight exercises to help you hone in on your biggest differentiators and where you should focus your blog.
Keep Your Head Up
I know times are tough right now, but the best thing you can do is invest in yourself through personal branding. I hope you’ll find the courage to share more of what you know with the world. Your future is bright.
READ MORE: How to Market Yourself Like Elle Woods