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How One Job-Seeker Turned His Personal Brand Into Fame and Opportunity

By Jesse Noyes

July 19 2012 - Anyone trying to find a job in today's climate knows how hard it is to get your CV noticed amongst the piles stacked on HR directors' desks. For many seeking to enter fast-paced fields, the simple CV is no longer enough. You need to stand out, to prove your mettle.

That's exactly what Dave Cutler did. When Cutler, a marketer from Boston, USA, found himself laid off, he set out to establish his own brand. Over the course of a year, Dave created a name in the marketplace by following influential people in his field on social media, setting up a personal website to aggregate his content, attending industry events, producing videos for YouTube, and even creating a Foursquare venue to promote his search.

His efforts paid off, not only in the form of employment opportunities, but also in the widespread attention his efforts garnered across online and traditional media. He was featured in The Boston Globe, and in national television and radio interviews.

Dave caught our eye here at Eloqua, which was why we asked him to write our recently published Grande Guide to Personal Branding. It's packed with solid advice for those wanting to launch a personal branding campaign. Here I've included some of the best practices and tools Dave shares.

Find Your Niche

Dave didn't cover every bit of news across a myriad of industries. He focused on one topic: social media marketing. He identified keywords associated around this niche and created content around it, making him easy to find in search engine results and on social media.

Get Personal

People want to know who you are - not just what you know. Inject some of your personal life into your social and online presence. It helps establish trust. Dave found many opportunities started with conversations about his kids, his dogs and even about the place where he proposed to his wife.

Google Yourself

A basic truth of branding: You are who Google says you are. 'Googling' yourself may be derided as narcissistic, but for a personal branding campaign it's crucial. You need to know what content about you is featured most prominently. For optimal results, use a browser that normally lies dormant on your computer so your own browsing behaviour doesn't influence results.

Court Influencers

Every field has 'influencers.' It's your job to find them and make them notice you. Rather than immediately requesting that they share your content, first engage with them via social media, comment on their blog posts, or introduce yourself following a talk. Over time the influencer will be more inclined to follow and share your work, lending you further credibility.

Be Patient

When searching for a job, it's easy to get down. But remember, building a personal brand takes time. All of the above steps will help take control of your online and offline presence, they can't be carried out overnight.

Now that you've seen the practices Dave employed, you're probably wondering what tools he used. Put simply, it's an assortment with each offering unique value.

Blogs

Establishing a personal brand means sharing your insights and expertise. Few platforms offer a more efficient means to doing this than blogging. You don't need to be verbose. 400 to 500 words will suffice. Some of most popular platforms are WordPress, Google Blogger and Tumblr.

Video

After Google, YouTube is the most popular search engine. It's a great way to show off your knowledge. You don't need to be a director. A 'how-to' or an interview with someone in your field can get the job done.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has more than 150 million members. Job seekers, consultants and executives alike are all being vetted through LinkedIn in some form or fashion. Your profile should not only accurately describe the nature of past work and responsibilities, but also highlight key achievements. Fill out every available section of your profile, connect with people in your network, and ask for recommendations from people with whom you've done business.

Twitter

When you want to say something succinctly, Twitter is your tool. By becoming known as a subject matter expert, you can develop a loyal following and expand your network. Gain followers by following others and responding to their tweets.

Q&A Forums

There are few ways to prove your proficiency than by providing meaningful answers to people's burning questions. Sites like Quora and Focus give you the opportunity to do just that. Quora provides a forum for experts to weigh in on questions posted on the site. Users can vote up or down an answer, and topics are wide-ranging, to say the least. Focus is all about business. People pose questions, and you can rise within the site's expert community by participating and receiving favourable votes for your contribution.

Moo.com

Moo is an easy and affordable way to create business cards. The site offers a multitude of design possibilities, including the option of selecting a 'MiniCard,' which is half the size of a standard business card and stands out in a pile. Including a photo of yourself or QR code can help jog a contact's memory.

About.Me

About.Me is a highly useful branding tool that enables you to easily create a one-page website by uploading a photo, crafting a short bio and aggregating your favourite social profiles in one place. It brings all of your personal content together in a visually appealing way.

With the right combination of expertise, technology and time, you can build a personal brand like Dave. The Internet, especially social media, has democratised the process of becoming a noted expert.

About the author

Jesse Noyes is Managing Editor at Eloqua. For more information, please see the Grande Guide to Personal Branding by Eloqua: a 'how-to' manual for professional reinvention.




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