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Not Just LinkedIn: How to Brand Yourself Online When Job Hunting

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff writer
business.com Staff
Updated Feb 10, 2022

LinkedIn is one of the most popular ways to brand yourself online during a job search. However, there are other successful ways to do this.

When you’re searching for a job, there is more to think about than just submitting a resume and cover letter. Job seekers can benefit from establishing a personal online brand to present themselves in the best possible light to potential employers.  Here’s some advice on how to successfully brand yourself and improve your chances in the job market.

What is personal online branding?

Personal online branding is the act of building a distinct presence for yourself across the internet. A personal online brand should give others a clear and consistent sense of who you are, what your character and value proposition is, and how you are different from competitors. An established personal online brand can help you land a job.

Why do you need to brand yourself?

The job market is competitive for companies and job seekers alike, so it’s important to create a personal brand that sets you apart from the crowd. Personal branding can help you with job hunting, as it demonstrates why you are a better choice than any of your competitors. It gives prospective employers or clients a more holistic view of who you are and what you have to offer.

Bottom LineBottom line: Branding yourself can help you grow your professional network and boost your business or career. Reflecting on your values and identity during the branding process can also help you grow personally and professionally.

How do you brand yourself online?

If you are familiar with various social networks, you may believe you already know how to successfully brand yourself online, but you might have more to learn. Here are five ways you can improve your online brand.

1. Highlight your unique selling point.

Like any product, you must have a unique selling point. Too many job seekers make the mistake of trying to cater to all employers. That may sound like the right option, but it’s actually one of the worst things you can do. Posting cookie-cutter information online can cause your persona to get lost in the crowd or come across as disingenuous.

When you differentiate yourself, you help the right employers discover that you are the right fit. Do a little introspection to identify your unique selling point, and brand yourself based on that. Showing off previous projects can illustrate how you are unique.

2. Emphasize why you are better than the competition.

This is a question you must answer honestly for yourself. You might think you are creative and exciting, but the reality is that employers can find countless people who claim to be innovative and who can work as part of a team. You’ll have to do better than that if you’re going to get the job.

First, think about some unique experiences and projects you have worked on in the past that can highlight your expertise. Here are two examples to illustrate this point:

  1. Employee A worked at Home Depot and negotiated with the rest of the team over who would take the late shift. They compromised, which they say demonstrates their ability to negotiate and work as a team.
  2. Employee B organized an international whale festival to promote sustainable whale watching. They drew their team together and helped to bring in guests from 30 different nationalities.

Now, which scenario sounds more intriguing? These employees demonstrated the same skills, but on different scales. Nevertheless, you have to admit Employee B sounds like more of a candidate than Employee A.

3. Use multiple platforms.

Use a variety of platforms, especially social media networks, to create your online image. If there is a popular social media platform that your industry gravitates towards, start with that. Otherwise, Twitter and LinkedIn are always safe bets for professional branding.

Twitter is ideal for building up your professional network and actively participating in conversations about your industry. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a whole different beast. According to eMarketer, LinkedIn is the most trusted social network. This platform is ideal for combining your experience, skills, portfolio, accomplishments and clients into one comprehensive profile. LinkedIn remains one of the most effective professional tools available.

To make social media work for you, spend some time each day doing the following:

  • Keeping your profiles up to date
  • Posting blogs, comments or other content
  • Interacting in networking groups

If you want to take your brand one step further, design a personal website. An updated website is a great way to display your professional value and accomplishments. Include your elevator pitch, publish or link to samples of your best work, and create meaningful blog posts.

TipTip: Whether you are creating a new website for yourself or your business, check out these website design tips to make it successful.

4. Take advantage of photos and videos.

Photo and video have become integral parts of the digital world. In fact, a Venngage marketing study found that nearly half of all marketing content in 2020 contained visuals. Additionally, 77% of marketers said visual marketing was either “very” or “quite” important to their marketing strategy, with 9.4% saying their marketing strategy would be nothing without it.

People are more likely to take something on board if they can see it, or if it plays out in front of them. This, along with the demand for visual content, is the reason why online images and videos are beneficial to your brand. If an employer or client hasn’t met you in person, they can still get a sense of your personality through online photos and videos. Be yourself, but remember to always look professional.

Here are a few tips for using online visuals: 

  • Post and reshare social media content that uses high-quality images and videos.
  • Use images and videos in your blog posts.
  • Use clear professional photos of yourself (social media profile photos as well as website images).
  • Create a YouTube channel where you can host a video series of professional and relevant content.

TipTip: Use high-quality visuals in all your online posts. Here are some tips for taking good photos.

5. Ask for feedback.

Building a brand takes time. Be diligent and consistent about putting out good content and increasing your brand awareness. A great way to track your success along the way is to seek feedback from your friends, family or colleagues. After they evaluate your online brand, ask for their honest thoughts and advice on how you can improve.

What personal branding mistakes should you avoid?

There are a few definite no-nos for branding yourself.

  • An unclear brand: Don’t throw a bunch of content online with no direction. Identify what you want your brand to be and what selling points you want to highlight. Additionally, when coming up with your brand, don’t try to please everyone; instead, build an online presence that emphasizes the key points you previously identified.
  • An inconsistent brand: Inconsistent brands are confusing, and this can also make you come across as lazy or, worse, a liar. Be honest about your experience and skills, and make sure that all of your work history and values are aligned and consistent across all digital mediums. You also want to be consistent with how frequently you are active online.
  • An unprofessional brand: Avoid posting unprofessional content online. For example, don’t post offensive photos, blast out internet rants, or argue with others online. It can take a long time to build your online reputation and brand, but it only takes one thoughtless outburst to tear it down. Keep your cool online and remember, although it may be your personal brand, it still needs to be professional.

Building a personal online brand can take time and effort, but try to have fun with it! It’s all about demonstrating what value you bring to the professional world.

Victoria Heckstall contributed to the writing and research in this article.

Image Credit:

Fizkes / Getty Images

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
business.com Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.