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Yaneek Page | The art of personal branding online

Published:Sunday | August 4, 2019 | 12:00 AM


QUESTION: That story about how one of your readers was able to take your advice and triple her income was very inspiring. I read it and it is like my life story, without the happy ending. I am so frustrated in my current job. I have to work six days a week now even though my job contract is for a standard 40-hour work week. I do not get paid overtime and my take home pay is a joke. I cry almost every day when I think about how my life is rn (right now). Like, seriously I am borrowing every month to cover all my bills. My credit card balances over 500g and it’s like I am trapped. I want to quit but I have to adult and pay these bills. I’m depressed af. I notice where the girl you helped said her online profile and LinkedIn helped a lot. I’ve tried that but it doesn’t seem to work for me. Are there any more tips you can give? Or better still, can you be my mentor, please?
  – S (Facebook)
  BUSINESSWISE: I’m glad you were able to find some hope and inspiration in the article you mentioned, which for the benefit of other readers, was published here in The Sunday Gleaner on June 23, 2019, and is titled “The Article That Helped A Reader Triple Her Income”.

That 30-year-old reader, who I call ‘Max’, was able to turn her life around in under a year by following six general steps: goal-setting, job market research, online training and certification, strategic personal branding, prospective employer profiling, and perseverance. Frankly speaking, persons wanting to emancipate themselves from jobs they hate need only follow Max’s example to the letter, and with consistency.

I decided to review your profiles on Linked in, Facebook and Instagram to see where there may be opportunities to improve. The good news is that I found several areas where just a few changes could have a huge impact in your dream job search.

  The biggest mistake you are making on social media now is that you’ve put no effort into branding yourself online. There is no pull or consistency in your bio, which is where you have an ideal opportunity to say who you are and what you do. You need to spell out in a brief but powerful sentence, your value proposition to a potential employer based on your goal, and very importantly, relative to the current opportunities available.

  For example, some of the hottest jobs globally for 2018 and 2019 based on LinkedIn research are: product designer, product owner, customer success manager, engagement manager, solutions architect, scrum master, product marketing manager, solutions consultant, director of data science, and sales development representative.

  For each of these ‘in demand’ jobs, there are relevant skill sets and training or certification that the employers have listed as general prerequisites. Once you are clear on your goal – in terms of jobs you want, then your online profiles on every social media platform should strategically include these prerequisites so as to make you an attractive job candidate.

  It is these key words that hiring managers look for when short-listing candidates. Also, many companies now use recruitment or applications management software to sort the hundreds or thousands of applications they may receive for a given post.

  Keywords are everything! Remember, to compete with professionals from around the world for the best job opportunities available you can’t afford to squander your social media assets. When it comes to securing and maintaining your dream job, you have to recognise that your social media platforms are either an asset or liability.

It’s time to also update your pictures to more professional headshots. The selfies on your current profiles won’t cut it. For consistency, I recommend using the same professional headshot on every social media platform. This way you are easily recognisable on every site.

  It also demonstrates to potential employers that you have a high level of sophistication or maturity in navigating the online space, and that you are purposeful about branding and protecting your brand.

  Potential employers will anticipate that you will extend this same professionalism to your work and safeguarding the company brand.

  My final tip is that you go through and clean up your social media profile before you start doing more online job searches, applications and strategic networking. Keep your posts upbeat and aligned to the job you want and the value you can’t wait to add. Delete posts and comments that are sexually charged, political or generally controversial.

  Be mindful also of the language you use, for example in your message to me you used ‘af’, which may not find favour with some employers, so it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid such terms altogether.

  My last tip is for you to stay positive, and start following and engaging with people who motivate and lift you up as well as thought leaders in your dream career or job area. The positive energy you emit may be that wave that sets you apart from the ocean of talent to emancipate you from that job you hate.

  Finally, regarding mentorship, I organise a mentoring walk each year under the umbrella of the global organisation Vital Voices. The event is usually held close to International Women’s Day which is observed in March or April, and mentors are paired to mentees based on areas of interest, expertise, best fit, etc.

  I am already working closely with a mentee for this year, however, now that I have your contact details, I’ll be happy to invite you to the Global Mentoring Walk for 2020.

  One love!
- Yaneek Page is the program lead for Market Entry USA, a certified trainer in entrepreneurship, and creator and executive producer of The Innovators and Let’s Make Peace TV series.