Recently, I was in conversation with one of my colleagues about the importance of personal branding. He looked at me with a quizzical expression on his face as I described it. This stopped me in my tracks.
As a public relations major in college, the concept of personal branding was drilled into my head as I worked my way through my studies. I even took a design class that had an entire month dedicated to the importance of creating a brand for yourself. So to me, the concept of personal branding comes naturally and makes a lot of sense. It wasn't until this moment with my confused colleague that I realized this idea may not be as commonly understood as I thought.
Personal branding may sound corporate or artsy, but it is an important and helpful concept in all fields - even ministry.
What exactly is personal branding?
When we hear the word "branding," 9 out of 10 of us probably immediately think of things like marketing, company logos, and slogans. While branding is clearly related to these things, let's shift our mindset to personal branding. This doesn't mean you need to create a logo for yourself, but what it does mean is that you do need to think about how you are presenting yourself to the world. This is especially applicable to those in the church job search setting.
Why is it important?
Personal branding is important for job seekers because until you land an interview, the way you present yourself on paper and online is the first and only impression that future employers have of you.
When thinking back to how branding affects us as consumers, let's consider what some of the top brands out there communicate to us. Just as it is important for companies to create a positive reputation in their prospective fields to gain credibility and to cause customers to want to buy their product, it is equally as important for job seekers to create a positive reputation and cause employers to want to get to know them more.
How can you create a strong brand?
The first step in creating a strong brand is to figure out what you stand for and what your goals are. Where would you like for your ministry career path to take you? Do you know exactly what it is that you want to do? What's your personal mission in life? In what areas do you want to impact your community or the world? Knowing the answers to these key questions will get you off on the right track.
Next, think of your resume as a paper version of your story. Being able to concisely tell the story of who you are and where you have been - through the lens of where you would like to go - is an important first step in the job search process.
Being able to communicate this in an organized and easy-to-understand format is also crucial. A ministry resume is your first step in the door and if it doesn't clearly outline your career journey, it may also be your last. (Not sure where to start? Check out these sites to help you easily build a resume: LiveCareer, Resume Genius, or Instant Resume Templates)
Another step in creating a strong brand is having a positive social media footprint. What exactly does this mean? Well, it means a few things. First, if you're on social media (this includes, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.) make sure all of your profiles are up-to-date. This tells future employers who you are currently and gives them many of the facts they need upfront.
Many times, the first thing a hiring committee does after they see a resume they like is to look them up on social media. Because of this, be aware of the types of content and pictures you are actively posting, as well as liking or re-posting. A person's social media profiles are a big insight into who they are as a person. And while it is true that social media does not communicate a lot about someone's work ethic, it does tell a lot about their character. Just as a resume can be the first step into the employment door, social media may be the second step.
While we know our identities do not lie in the resumes or profiles we create, it is still easy to see how having a strong personal brand can only be helpful as ministry job seekers seek the position God is calling them to.
What are some other ways you can create a strong personal brand?
This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here.