Unemployment is something most of us don’t like to think about, but it is inevitable for most of us at some time in our careers.
I had an experience with unemployment that had a happy ending simply because of the personal branding I did in advance of it. You see I had an experience where I lost me job. I was the sole bread earner for my family and I went home that day with my tail between my legs. I contacted my landlord to let them know that I could not pay the rent on our apartment and my family sat in a state of shock at what we would do in the next month. Well two days into unemployment, I got a call from the owner of a company who had found me on LinkedIn and googled my name to find my personal branded website. Let’s just say he was incredibly impressed with my online personal brand and wanted to meet with me right away. I went on the interview and he continuously referred to the content on my website. I had great information to reference and it not only got me through the interview, it landed me the job. I started the following week.
At the time, I had no idea that I would be in the market for another job, but the work that I did on my personal brand through social media and especially on my website proved that I was not only prepared, I was prepared to succeed!
A Job is Not Forever
Life changes. This is a constant. A job is not a constant and this means we must be prepared to capture new opportunities. Being accessible and open to new opportunities is essential at all times.
This means continuously communicating your personal brand and unique value to the kinds of employers you would want to work for next, mainly through your LinkedIn profile and ideally through a personal website that a potential employer will find on your LinkedIn profile or when they Google your name.
It’s important to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and that it contains relevant key words. This makes your profile optimized to help you get discovered by recruiters and hiring decision makers at companies that might find you interesting and worthy of interviewing. This is exactly how my success story started.
You’ll also want to stay active on LinkedIn groups and you’ll want to be certain that you have a few really well researched articles on LinkedIn that are attached to your profile. You will also want to create a personal website that features your endorsements, values, skills and passions as they relate to your industry. Finally, you’ll want to keep your resume up to date and ready to use at a moment’s notice.
Okay. So if you happen to do all the things mentioned above and you were laid off, you’d be good to go like I was. But it’s more likely that you haven’t focused on your personal branding. If this is your reality, here’s what you can do to get up to speed.
4 Ways to Keep Your Personal Brand Alive
Here are 4 ways to get back on track:
1. Work on targeting and your personal brand message.
Haven’t done anything yet to define your brand and create brand-supporting personal marketing materials (LinkedIn profile, personal website and resume)? It’s time you started at square one with my Personal Branding in Eight Steps
If you’ve already defined your brand, this is the time to revisit and refresh it, to align your personal marketing materials with the needs of your target employers.
2. Rebuild and expand your network.
Reconnect with everyone you can think of, in any walk of life, and let them know your career goals. Search the LinkedIn company profiles of those you want to target, look for employees you may know, and invite them to connect. Ask everyone you know if they know anyone at your target companies, and ask for an introduction. Also, look for senior level executives at these companies who may be hiring decision makers, and reach out to them.
3. Find ways to fill potential employment gaps, before they happen.
It can take many months to find a new good fit job. You need to do some kind of work – whether or not you receive compensation – to avoid major gaps in your LinkedIn profile and resume. Typically, things get sticky with gaps of one year or more. So do what you can to keep that from happening.
Here are some suggestions. Do your best to find work that is consistent with your personal brand and unique value proposition to your target employers. Then this fill-in work experience will be of greater value to them:
4. Build your personal website and social media profiles.
Now you’ll probably have the time to play around with LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and other social media, and learn how to build your brand on them. The most important platform for you right now is LinkedIn. Be certain that you create a compelling profile that features your personal website. Building a personal website takes a solid personal brand focus and positioning. You will want to know who your target audience is and what they will identify with. Aligning this with your passions, strengths and goals will yield you the content that will grant you access to the field of success. Be certain that you have really great personalized photography of yourself on your website. Remember it is all about you!
Like me, unemployment happens to most of us. Your best defense is to be prepared BEFORE it ever happens. Remember my story. I was prepared with my online personal brand and it landed me an interview and helped me land the job. If for some reason you are not prepared and unemployment sneaks up on you, follow my guidelines to keep your personal brand alive, as you navigate your job search.
If you would like more specialized attention to develop your personal brand while unemployed or to get yourself prepared, feel free to contact me for a free idea session. You may reach me through the contact page on this website or directly at email@example.com. I am delighted to help you!