On February 2nd, over 50 women gathered in LinkedIn headquarters for New York Women In Communications Inc.’s “Coffee & Conversation: Marketing Yourself At Every Age.”
Moderated by Robyn Hatcher, founder of Speak, Etc., panelists included: Celia Currin, executive career coach; Jamie McLaughlin, founder and president of Capstone Hill Search; Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Resume Strategies, Inc.; and Soniya Monga, global agency partner lead at LinkedIn.
While panelists spoke and shared secrets for success on how women of all ages can best market themselves, they also revealed what not to do, how to ace your interviews, and what simple steps you can take to land your dream job or continue moving up in your industry regardless.
Read how you can improve your chances below:
1. Brand Yourself
Personal branding is not only for entrepreneurs, artists, or those with LinkedIn premium accounts. Your brand is how you define who you are, your goals, passions, values, and especially what you have to offer the world. If you can define, articulate, and describe these ideas whether be on your resume, cover letter, interview, LinkedIn profile, networking event, or even during a 30 second elevator ride – you are that much closer to establishing your presence in the world!
Our brand is where we establish our validity, both as a person, prospective employee, or collaborator. “I don’t like the term ‘personal brand’ — I think it’s cheesy,” Soniya Monga says. “It’s really about reputation. How do you want your clients, colleagues, and others to see you? How do you figure out a way to be yourself? You need to have a point of view and something to say.”
A trick to seeing what people think of your brand? Google yourself. It may seem silly, but it is usually one of the first ways people find us – hiring managers, prospective clients, even our future first dates!
2. Market yourself appropriately
When you are thinking about your online brand, you also should be careful of how you communicate your level of experience and professionalism. You want to know who your target audience is,” says Alyssa Gelbard. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. – are the people you want to communicate with on those platforms? Because if they are not, why waste your time there?
As told in an example from Celia Currin, join a LinkedIn group based in a community or interest which you want to become more involved. By simply posting something you’ve written in the field, or some of your accomplishments, you can instantly attract better attention, and make connections with those in the community. As in Celia’s example, one of her clients was soon after offered an opportunity to present at a convention and later on a job!
3. Do Your Research
Multiple panelists all agreed that the biggest mistake someone could make before a job interview is failing to do their homework. Due diligence is crucial! Knowing who is interviewing you, the office culture, new initiatives, and recent changes in executive staff will all help you stand out. Plus, without doing research you won’t have good questions. Without questions, or at least proof of thought out questions you can easily come off as uninterested or unprepared for the job at hand.
When an employer or prospective colleague knows you’ve done your research, you’re already starting off at a different level in communication. The research shows you are engaged and want to take things to the next step.
4. Get Facetime In
“Don’t just limit yourself to behind a screen,” says Alyssa Gelbard. Get out there, meet people, go to events, meet people face to face to build those relationships. While younger people tend to stay more behind the screen, if you want to build your brand, people want to know who you are outside of your LinkedIn profile.
5. The A Word
Whether we like it or not, appearance plays a huge role in how we market ourselves. It may be controversial, but it’s evident. How you dress, do your makeup, choose your accessories, fix your hair – all of those things matter. But most of all, it all depends on context. Are you going to an interview or an event? What is the culture like? How about the environment? You cannot always assume either, especially if you do not know the personal taste of who is interviewing you. You want to show your personality and style, in addition to professionalism.
Unfortunately, our brains automatically create judgements on first impressions. Always put the best version of yourself out there! Match your appearance with the company culture. Don’t know? Again, do your research. Some recruiters may even offer a dress code, but if not, you have every right to ask as well. “Get a couple of interview outfits that you feel really good in,” says Celia Currin. “Ones that always make you feel confident, comfortable, and the best version of yourself.”
6. Show Passion
When you can match your passion with your interests and expertise? That is the dream. “I will always take someone more passionate because they will be more engaging and more excited, and if it’s something they don’t know, they’re going to learn it quickly,” says Soniya Monga.
Yet, passion can also be received in different ways to a hiring manager. As Celia Currin breaks it down, all interviews come down to three questions for hirers: Can you do the job, will you love the job, and can I stand working with you? Be sure to utilize your interview to answer all three questions, and confidently.