How to Market Yourself During and After COVID-19
Let’s face it, we’re living in a different time. Before March 2020, employers wanted to see your “best face”. They wanted you to present your perfectly outfitted resume that displayed the experience and the degree. If the resume did not fit, that was it. No interview. Then, the world turned upside down – COVID19 hit. Employers scrambled to determine if their everyday processes could turn remote on a dime. People lost jobs. A lot of people. Today, the world is gaining its’ grip on COVID-19, but the current unemployment rate remains at 7.9 percent, according to bls.gov. Employers are rebuilding or rearranging to meet the recommendations of the world’s best and brightest medical professionals to ensure coming back into the workspace meets safety requirements for employees. The outcome is a whole new perspective. Employers are now more than ever considering hiring based upon many factors – not just education, according to USA Today. This means an opportunity for many to shoot for their dream job.
At KO Business Solutions, we consider the whole of an applicant when hiring. Our selection process is based upon a proven method and balanced scorecard which considers many aspects of a potential hire, including education, current and past skill set, etc. Our scorecard provides employer’s insight into many factors, beyond just education. You can replicate our process and market yourself to potential employers yourself by following these 3 key pieces of advice: 1) Be visible on social medias and network, 2) Build and maintain a reputation of integrity, and 3) Make a lasting first impression.
1 – Make Yourself Visible Through Socials
The first secret to successfully marketing yourself in this new world for a chance to land a new role is to be visible whenever possible! The web and digital marketing allow you to put yourself and most attractive qualities in front of thousands of employers – and with little effort! How, you ask? Through social medias, of course. If you do not already have a social media, we strongly recommend you build them today, especially LinkedIn and Facebook. Many top executives and recruiters are on LinkedIn daily but for them to become interested in your abilities, your profile cannot just simply exist. You need to be active on social medias. There is free software, such as Hootsuite, that allow you to schedule posts for future dates to keep visible. We recommend posting photos or videos whenever able. Just be sure to be mindful of your backgrounds and quality of posts. Keep your content fun, but still work appropriate. The goal is to market your authentic self and abilities to potential employers.
2 – Gain a Reputation of Integrity
When you are active on social medias, you are sure to attract attention. If others like your content, they may ask to connect with you. Vice versa, if you find yourself enjoying or relating to content they are posting, you can also ask to connect with them. These connections are basically free networking. You will find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals in the industries you have always dreamed of working!
Meet your connections in-person, if possible! Messaging and connecting is so important to maintaining a network. In our new world, Zoom is a completely acceptable and safe method to meet a new contact. It is normal today to share a coffee through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These digital meetings will serve as great practice for a digital interview – that many employers are currently using as their method of choice to meet potential new hires. Through your network, you can ask for help, resources, and referrals. We guarantee you know someone who knows someone who can help you land that role you have been eyeing.
While networking, make sure to respond to others’ messages and requests. Honesty goes a long way, so if you are not interested in a service or product offering, let your contact know politely. Always search for a way to help. If you cannot use the product or service, maybe you know someone who does? By being a referral for someone, you gain their trust – and they are likely to return the favor later. If you are going to utilize social medias as a platform to meet contacts, it is important to build and maintain a reputation of integrity.
3 – Make a Lasting First Impression
The final secret to successfully marketing yourself in this new day in age is to create a first impression that will last. Your resume is usually the first impression outside of a media connection that attracts companies to you, so it is important to make sure your resume is attention-grabbing and highlights your qualifications. Tailoring your resume based on the role you are applying for is a must! Recruiters and hiring managers use “buzz words” as key indicators to determine if a candidates’ qualifications align with an opportunity. (Hint: The buzz words recruiters look for are often outlined in the job description and list of qualifications. When tailoring your resume, refer to the job description to pull different words and phrases to be incorporated into your resume.) Incorporate the buzz words/phrases into your resume! For example, a job qualification listed on the job posting could be “The ability to manage a team”. On your resume, you should incorporate the buzz word “manage”, along with the specific outcomes from that experience. An example bullet point could be “Managed a team of 15 sales representatives and implemented a new sales process that increased sales by 25 percent from 2019 to 2020.”
To make a lasting first impression with your resume, you must also define your specialty (what sets you apart from other candidates?). You can create an attention-grabbing impression by highlighting your mastery in your resume by including certifications, awards, or accomplishments you have earned. To further drive home one’s specialty in a field, a skills section can be added to the resume. In this section, job specific and transferable skills should be listed, but you will also want to add specialty skills, as this will help you to stand out against other candidates. For example, if the role requires you to operate in a specific operating system while working with international or multicultural populations, you will want to list your certification and proficiency in the operating system and your foreign language proficiency.
Aside from your resume, build a portfolio to showcase your work. A portfolio is what bridges the gap between your network and the skills and experience you listed on your resume– it brings your qualifications to life. You have a network that can talk about how great of a person you are and how you would make a stellar employee, but a portfolio is the driving factor to getting a callback. Throughout your professional career, you should maintain a folder of specific accomplishments, reports, projects, etc. that you completed, as they will provide employers better insight on the items you listed on your resume, and the high praises someone within your network has said to them about you. Having a portfolio in your arsenal, can also be the crucial defining moment between you and another candidate, as it presents evidence of your relevant skills and abilities that showcases your work potential to the employer.
While the world has been upside down for some time, the light at the end of the tunnel is near. The fact that employers are considering more than just experience and skill when hiring is proof that things are changing. Through strong personal marketing, such as being visible online, maintaining a positive reputation, and making an authentic first impression, we are sure you can reach your professional goals. Our scorecard and expert Talent Acquisitions team can attest that these marketing steps really help employers envision your abilities, how they can be applied to their companies, and most importantly, your true potential. At KO Business Solutions, we encourage you to take advantage of this time – as businesses are rebuilding, so should you! It is time to build a world of possibilities, together.