Root Canals, Job Search, and the Art of Personal Branding

View of an older male dentist from the chair
I am honored to feature this guest post by the talented Ryan Rancatore. He definitely has a great deal of wisdom, so read on, then go visit his blog and follow him on Twitter! You’ll be glad you did 🙂

I hate going to the dentist. Really – I despise those two days of the year more than any others. What exactly do I loathe about being strapped to a chair completely defenseless while a masked monster pokes and prods my mouth with sharp and shiny objects? Everything!

During my most recent visit, I realized that searching for a job is actually quite similar to a trip to the dentist. In specific, how you prepare for each of the two experiences follows roughly the same path. In the days or weeks prior to your dreaded dentist appointment, you likely pay extra attention to your teeth – brushing twice a day, even making sure to floss morning and night. Prior to a job interview, you likely give the same added concentration to your resume, references, etc.

But guess what? The dentist knows the truth – and so does any prospective hiring manager. You can’t fake months of proper hygiene by flossing 10 times the night before your dentist visit. Trying to cover up years of inattention? You are likely to hear your dentist utter the two worst words in the English language: “root canal.”

Similarly, a flurry of focused attention to your resume or network of connections the night before an interview won’t do much to help your job chances. In the age of Google, Linkedin, etc., it is incredibly easy for hiring managers and HR departments to dig up the real truth. No longer will a shiny resume or stellar reference or two suffice – it takes something of real substance to land a job today.

It is for this reason exactly that I recommend personal branding. While job seeking is a short-term activity, building a personal brand is a long-term process that occurs through repeated actions. Actions like reading, blogging, networking, continued education, attending industry events, etc.

Melissa Cooley has written a few excellent articles extolling the virtues of personal branding. Like how personal branding can pump a bit of gas into your job search and how to develop your personal branding message.

For many, the realization that a strong personal brand is a necessity today comes at precisely the wrong time. It is kind of like insurance – by the time you recognize you really need it, you are already too late.

But, if you are already unemployed, don’t fret. Most of personal branding occurs unintentionally anyway. In other words…surprise, you already have a personal brand! The next step is to take control of it – start by envisioning how you want others to portray you. Now, Google yourself, and honestly critique how the first page of results matches your vision. If you are like most people, the actual and the envisioned are worlds apart.

To take the reigns of your personal brand, keep listening Melissa’s prudent advice – and try a few other wise writers, like Mohammed Al Taee and Jorgen Sundberg. These three smart folks will make certain you never need a career root canal!

Image courtesy of David Squire

Ryan RancatoreRyan Rancatore is an advertising guy by day, and a personal branding blogger by night. Check out Personal Branding 101 for simple tips and tricks that aim to put you on the path to career success.

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