Six tips for young job seekers

November 24, 2009

I recently attended a young job seekers seminar presented by personal branding guru, Erika Penner. The talk was inspirational and provided great information for my upcoming e-book on personal branding. After feverishly taking notes throughout the lecture, I ran home and started working on my very own personal brand. As college senior, who is searching for a job in public relations, there is no time like the present to start my personal branding campaign. So, where should you start?

Here are a few borrowed guidelines from Erika, and a few of my own, that will help make your personal branding campaign a success!

1. What are your goals? What are you passionate about? Where do you see yourself in ten, twenty years? Write down a short-term and a long-term goal and post them in a visible place. Don’t just write your goals in a list. Phrase them in a professional manner as a “to be” phrase (e.g., to be recognized as a leader in the field of hospitality public relations).

2. What are your strengths? What are you good at? Be honest. A potential employer can tell if you are making something up. Make a list of what you actually do well — not what you want to do well. This can also be a part of your core mission statement.

3. Write a 15 word, or less, description of yourself as it pertains to the field that you hope to work. This statement should reflect your personality and effectively communicate what you want a potential employer to know about you. This is your personal branding statement. Personal branding expert Dan Schawbel recommends including what makes you compelling and unique. He also recommends including any area of expertise in your core mission statement.

4. Consistency is key. Developing a personal brand can feel overwhelming. Use your core mission statement as a cohesive foundation throughout your resume, cover letter, social media, portfolio and interview.

5. Cover letters should not read like a template. They should reflect your core personality and branding statement while remaining professional. In the first two paragraphs, highlight the qualities that make you stand out. Then acknowledge why you are the best candidate for the position.

6. The dreaded interview can be daunting. This category is so big it could warrant its own blog post. But, creating a personal branding campaign creates an advantage that will put you ahead of most candidates. Preparation is key in any interview. Research the company and interviewee. What is the company’s core values? What are the most recent news of the company? Ask specific questions to find out more about the organization and to show you are a thoughtful candidate. Always bring at least two copies of your resume and bring a list of references to share.

This is only the beginning of personal branding. To read more on this subject check out the Personal Branding Blog and read my upcoming e-book on 10 tips for an effective personal branding campaign.

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5 Responses to “Six tips for young job seekers”

  1. Erika Penner Says:

    This is a great post Sarah! You took all the key points and added some great details. I could not have said it better myself. Feel free to contact me anytime if you need advice. Thanks so much for the recognition and good luck with your job search.

    • Sarah Lilly Says:

      Thanks Erika! I really enjoyed your presentation and I obviously learned a lot! I would love to grab coffee sometime to discuss, and get your input, on my personal mission statement!


  2. […] Six tips for young job seekers by Sarah Lilly […]


  3. And there’s this. Careful use of social media to connect and communicate your presence (brand, if you must) through well chosen contributions and conversations.

    • Sarah Lilly Says:

      Thank you Richard for your response! I love getting feedback from readers.
      You bring up a great point regarding the use of social media with your personal brand. Students in particular must be very careful online when developing their personal brand. We all must remember that our personal brand reaches cyberspace as well as reality.


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