Personal branding is the secret weapon of young professionals.
I’ve seen the power of personal branding totally transform my own life and career. Branding myself opened the door for me to begin freelancing and transformed my experience job hunting.
When I decided to quit my job to travel and backpack through Southeast Asia, I was at a loss as to how I was going to make money while away. I knew freelancing was the best option but didn’t know where to begin. Further, when I eventually wanted to get another job back in my home of NYC, I was terrified I’d never get one while living in a different country and while unemployed. Personal branding was the answer to both of these problems.
Personal branding for young professionals
When I began learning about personal branding, I was extremely intimated by the standout brands of my accomplished career role models. I would look at the websites of people like Nicole Lapin, Katie Couric, Sara Blakley, and Oprah. I felt like I had absolutely nothing to put on a website of my own in comparison to them. They had New York Times bestsellers, interviews on national television, TED talks, etc.
I, on the other hand, was in my early twenties. Sure, I had a college degree, some babysitting experience, and one job under my belt. But, I did not know what I could possibly put on a website of my own, how I could start growing a big social media following, or why people would even really pay attention to me. I thought I needed to have my career experience and accomplishments to even begin branding myself or creating a personal website.
Further, when I was in college, I would see some of my classmates with personal websites of their own. I did not understand how they could do so much (speeches, internships, independent research, travel, etc.) while in school. For me, school was a lot to handle!
But then, I realized I was looking at everything backward.
The branding mindset
Here’s the reality: you don’t need to have an established career or a list of achievements to build a personal website and a personal brand.
You can do it that way. But, I prefer it the other way around.
You create a personal brand based on the things you love and are proud of, and your career and opportunities come to you from there.
For me, realizing this was so empowering. It made me feel so free because I felt like I could actually design the life, career, and future that I want. I realized I did not need to wait until I had checked some accomplishments off of a box, but that I could be an accomplished young professional now and on my own terms.
My personal website
Once I committed to this, I spent days and nights pouring over the best way to go about it. If I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right.
I made a personal website, which was the foundation of my personal brand. It’s where I housed my resume, my biography, links to my social media channels, my portfolios, and so on.
When I applying for jobs, I made sure to strategically place this site throughout my application. I put it at the top of my resume with my address. It’s in the signature block of my email. I mentioned it in my cover letter, and so on.
My plan worked
I was blown away by my results when I began applying for jobs with this.
The red line in this graph represents my experience applying for jobs prior to my personal website. I was employed, living in NYC, had a college degree, and felt qualified for the prospective jobs. As you can see, I applied to about twenty. I landed about five interviews and truthfully, received no offers. It’s a little embarrassing! But, it’s the truth. These weren’t reach jobs, either. I was qualified for them and knew I could do them. But, I simply wasn’t standing out or connecting.
The light blue line (much prettier!) represents my time applying to jobs from Asia. I applied to seven, received an interview for four of them, and received offers from all four of them. Did I mention this was all over Skype?
Needless to say, my personal website worked. I was standing out and connecting in a way that I hadn’t been able to before. It did not matter that I wasn’t physically in New York. It did not matter that I was unemployed. I was qualified for the jobs I was applying for and would be a good fit in the company culture. These were both evident from my personal website alone. This made the employers’ job easier and, of course, helped me so much.
Why this worked
My story isn’t one of coincidence. There’s plenty of statistics out there that show why this is so powerful.
According to Workfolio, over 50% of hiring managers are impressed by a candidate’s personal website. Yet, only 7% of candidates actually have one! So not only is this something that employers value, it makes you look extra impressive because so few candidates have one.
According to Forbes, the average job opening gets 118 applications. It’s imperative that you stand out in the job search or you’ll too easily get lost in the shuffle with those 118 others.
The good news is now you can create your own personal website of your own (and learn web design in the process!). Here’s how…
Introducing Urban 20 Someone
Urban 20 SomeONE is my online program for young professionals. It builds the foundation of an irresistible, magnetic personal brand that will attract your people to you. So whether you yourself are looking for that dream job or want to build a personal brand for your own personal development, this is for you.
You’ll learn how to build your very own personal website, step by step, and deck it out with the content and style that will express your absolute best self in ways that are proven to impress employers. You’ll also learn how to use this tool to network online, freelance, and more.
The website is the foundation of your empire.
What’s Urban 20 Someone made of?
Glad you asked! Urban 20 Someone is an online program made up of three parts:
1- Five modules of self-study course material
I break down all the information in this course into five modules. Each module is made up of 5-10 lessons, and each lesson is about ten minutes long. I wanted to make this really easy for busy young professionals to make time for around their day jobs. By making each lesson only ten minutes, you have time to squeeze that in while getting ready in the morning, cooking dinner, or even before bed. Whatever works best for you!
All the course material together is about five hours. This is one of the most powerful parts of this program. It’s something that can be done as quickly as you choose. You can finish it in a weekend if you choose and start seeing results right away. It is not a long transformation and the results aren’t drawn out. But, it is a clear transformation and that’s what I love about it!
Throughout the course material, there are personalized, fillable workbooks. I did this so that you can take the information you learn in the course and apply it to your own life and work. These workbooks are designed not just to be a place to brainstorm, but to be resources you create that inform your personal brand. You can refer to them again and again as you build your website, post on social media, write for publications, apply for jobs, and so on.
3- 30-minute Skype session
Right now, I’m offering a 30 minute Skype session with all Urban 20 Someones! This can be 30 minutes to look at your personal website, strategize promoting your personal brand, plan your networking and social media scheduling, or whatever else you want to go over!
More (free!) personal branding info:
If you’re not quite ready to join Urban 20 Someone or just want to learn more about personal branding in general, I have a free training that you can download right now and get going on personal branding for yourself.