I often equate looking for a job with dating. Similar desire to impress, to connect and to get in. Similar high when it works out.
If you've ever done online-dating, you prune your profile and present your best self to attract people. And for first dates, you check yourself over repeatedly to make sure your hair, clothes, face are all in the right places.
You can look at yourself and think, "Yeah, I'd totally date me."
You, as a creative, need the same kind of attention. Does the email you sent present your best self? Have you looked at your website and pruned out the so-so pieces? Have you made sure the site, your resume, your book are all polished and shiny and everything is in place?
Can you look at yourself and say, "Yeah, I'd totally hire me."?
I've written about this topic (here, here and here) and thought this article - particularly this checklist - is a great addition to help you better sell yourself.
TAKING INVENTORY OF YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
- Cover Letter
- LinkedIn Profile
- Portfolio or Website: Think about design and branding, and how that appeals to your core audience, and represents both you individually, and your work.
- Network of Contacts: What kind of people do you have your network? The goal is establish quality relationships with others in your industry that you can potentially leverage, and create visibility for yourself.
EDUCATIONAL & SKILL-BASED
- Specialized Skills: What are the core skills you bring to the table, your strengths, your areas of expertise? Why would those be of value to your target audience? What additional skills could you acquire that would add additional value?
- Education & Training: What kind of educational training do you bring to the table, whether it’s basic coursework, or a Masters degree?
- Advanced Professional Training: Have you attained any certifications or additional professional training?
- Additional Skill Sets & Talents: What other skills do you have outside of your education and training, perhaps that you acquired on the job, or taught yourself? How might these tie in with your career focus, or add some new perspective?
- Social Media Profiles: Don’t let the personal undertone fool you – are you projecting a persona on social media that doesn’t reflect how you want to be represented on a professional level?
- Thought Leadership: Do you have a personal or professional blog that represents a particular area of importance or interest to you? How do you use this to engage and connect with others?
- Outside Interests & Ventures: Do you have a side business, an active website, or a creative pursuit that you dedicate time, energy and resources to outside of your traditional work responsibilities? What skills are involved, or has this area allowed you to develop, that might be worth noting?
- Freelance or Project Work: Work or non-work related, what projects are you involved in and what skill sets do they require? Even if they aren’t related to your career focus, what might these accomplishments say about things like your work ethic, your ability to interact with clients, your relationship building skills, your entrepreneurial flair?
- Organizational Involvement: Think about any additional volunteer or advocacy work, or causes you support, lead or are involved in. Why are they important to you?
- Appearance and Dress: Do you uphold a professional appearance on a daily basis, or only when you’re on the spot for an interview or networking event? If someone were to see you on the street, what kind of vibe would you be sending?
- Mannerisms & Non-Verbal Cues: How do you carry yourself when you walk into a room, address someone in conversation, or while listening to someone else speak? Are you well-composed and confident, or fidgety and nervous-seeming?
- Communication Skills: How clearly are you able to address someone and get your message across when asked about your work, your interests, or to introduce yourself to someone? Are you talking too fast, stumbling across your words, mumbling? Or are you speaking slowly, clearly and fluidly in an engaging manner that captures your audience’s attention?
- Language: Do you tend to transition back and forth between professional and casual, dropping derogatory or inappropriate language in conversation, or saying “Umm” and “Like” a lot? Does your language reflect the level of respect and credibility you’re trying to achieve?