You’re over 50 and on the hunt for a job that fits your skills and level of experience. What can help distinguish you from other, perhaps younger, job candidates? For starters, I recommend developing a personal brand. Let’s look at how you can strategically use personal branding to get hired.
But first let’s dive into what personal branding is and how it can make all the difference in your job search.
Why Using Person Branding to Get Hired Is So Important
Let’s start with a solid personal branding definition.
Personal branding is showcasing your value and expertise and packaging it so its accessible. Just as a brand like Apple nurtures and promotes it image, so too does your personal brand shine a light on you and your talents.
A caveat: Personal branding is not about marketing hype but about being authentic and true to yourself and your values.
A modern personal branding strategy melds traditional branding tactics with today’s tools. For instance, networking is a key part of building a personal brand. But LinkedIn and other social networks have become a crucial vehicle in the networking process.
Using personal branding to land a job does a lot of the leg work for you
Think about your job search for a moment — particularly the process of applying and interviewing for a job.
Usually, you have a resume and 15-30 minutes on an initial job interview to make a lasting impression and convince them to give you a second interview.
But what if you rev up the conversation so the interviewer knew you ahead of time? What if you could convince the peron of your expertise and knowledge base before you step foot into the company’s physical or virtual room?
This is what happens when you have a personal brand. It essentially speaks for you.
Now, most likely you’ll never have the same global name recognition of a Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. But a personal brand will give your name more weight within your industry, which will enhance your candidacy.
Personal Branding After 50
As an older professional looking for a job, you’ve no doubt dealt with your fair share of ageism. We all know it happens.
But a personal brand can help to combat ageist ideas and stereotypes.
With a solid personal brand behind you, the conversation shifts from how old you are and how much longer you are going to work, to how much experience and expertise you have and how that will benefit the company. And that’s the shift that you want.
But is it too late to start personal branding after 50?
Not at all.
As long as you have the time to dedicate to building your personal brand, it’s never too late.
All you need to know is how to build a personal brand for professional leverage.
That’s what I want to show you today. So let’s talk about how you can use personal branding to get hired after 50.
6 Key Ways to Use Personal Branding to Get Hired as an Older Professional
1. Invest in a Website
Think of your website as a home base. No matter what else you do online — social media, webinars, podcasts, you name it — you have a home where people can go to learn more.
Choose a domain name that is instantly recognizable. The best option is to use your name — www.yourname.com. If your name is fairly common and already exists as someone else’s domain, then vary it slightly, perhaps by adding your middle initial.
You have several options to choose from when it comes to building your website. You could simply host it on a site like BlueHost or GoDaddy, possibly using WordPress to build it. If that gets too complicated, companies like Squarespace or Wix take a lot of the stress out of building a website with a simple, drag-and-drop builder. It can be more expensive, but worth it if ease-of-use is your priority.
Also, as part of your domain registration, you will be able to create a branded email address — for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. This will anchor your personal brand and enhance your professional persona as you apply for jobs.
2. Engage on Social Media
Social media is a key part of personal branding. The three big networks are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These are great spaces to build your brand through the content you share and engagement with others on the network.
For older workers in my book nothing beats LinkedIn. It skews older than Twitter and is geared for networking and promoting yourself.
Here are a few pointers on making the most of your social media:
- Use the same profile picture on every network — you want people to recognize you across all networks.
- Link every network to your website— there will usually be a space in your bio to include a link.
- Post regularly and share valuable content — this is what will help you get noticed.
- Engage — like and comment on other people’s posts and reply to all comments that people leave on your posts.
Most of all, don’t complicate things. It’s about sharing great content and adding value to conversations. That’s all.
3. Build Your Network
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in — who you know matters. Engaging with the right people can open doors that otherwise would be closed.
How do you start networking?
Social media is the key here — and LinkedIn the solution within that key. Start by liking and commenting on other people’s posts. Participate in groups. Answer people’s questions. Look for opportunities to introduce yourself and connect with others.
Another excellent social network is Clubhouse. I talk about this new network in this post. It’s designed for people with similar interests to connect and talk in an audio format. It’s new and small enough that you can really shine on the platform, even as a new member.
4. Create Great Content
We’ve discussed sharing valuable content on social media, but personal branding also involves creating your own content.
This could mean writing blog posts, creating videos on YouTube, hosting a podcast, or some other media format for people to consume.
Now, I’m not going to tell you it’s a slam dunk. It will require some time and effort to create content. But it’s worth it. And it’s an essential part of personal branding.
Your content is a testament to what you know. It’s visible proof of your expertise. No matter what happens in your career, this content will always be yours. Your content shows who you are, what you do, and even gives an idea of your values.
Additionally, when you apply for jobs, you can invite interviewers to check out your content and gain a window into your knowledge and skills.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency is essential when building your personal brand. Ensure that wherever you are, whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, your website, or even within your content, that people recognize you immediately.
When someone from Twitter decides to follow you on LinkedIn, you want them to recognize you immediately. Make our profile pictures and information consistent across platforms.
This consistency should even extend to your personality and tone. The kind of content you share might vary from space to space, but your tone and personality never should.
6. Keep Track of Your Online Reputation
The one downside to personal branding is that your brand can go south quickly if you’re not careful. The speed of the internet and social media can turn a tiny flame into a raging inferno, with your reputation in the middle.
That is why it’s important to keep a constant eye on your online reputation.
Google yourself regularly. You can even set up a Google Alert that will email you whenever your name or brand is mentioned online. Sometimes it might be positive news. Other times, you might find a negative comment or misinformation being spread about you. It could even be about someone else with the same name.
Whatever negative information you find, act quickly to extinguish it. Address comments and correct misinformaiton as soon as possible with a quick post to social media or an update on your website.
Using Personal Branding to Get Hired
Particularly when you’re looking to land a job, personal branding is the best way to make a lasting impression.
I’ve even heard of hiring managers recognizing someone’s name before they step foot in the interview, all because they took the time to develop their personal brand.
In addition personal branding will encourage recruiters and hiring managers to seek you out. I know of people who got hired when they weren’t even looking for a new job because of the attention they paid to their personal brand.
Personal branding is an important tool in your career chest to help boost your career especially if you’re over 50. I hope these points help you as you develop your own personal brand and nail your job search.