Why Your Generic Branding is Killing Your Job Search

Clear FocusOnce again, a job seeker blasts away on social about his new status as “available” by describing himself as a “fast-learning problem-solver.”

And once again, not a single job offer will appear.

The issue with this type of generic self-introduction so common on social media today: No one ever knows how he might define fast-learning. And no one ever knows what kind of problems he solved. Yes, employers definitely need people to solve problems, but in today’s job market…

Job seekers must provide context, social proof and, most important, focus. 

Unless that job seeker starts to be for more specific, more focused, his job search is going to be more than difficult:

  • What kinds of problems did he solve (snow removal, tax preparation, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, etc.)?
  • What details can he offer on his accomplishments, skills, and experience?
  • Exactly what kind of a job, in what industries, is he looking for?

Without this basic information, your chances of standing out to an employee buried in applications is nil…. because your generic branding is killing your job search!

Focus Comes First

Many job seekers have told me that they don’t specify the job they want in LinkedIn and networking events because they fear that being specific will “limit my options.” This strategy backfires more often than it works.

Unfortunately, by not being clear, these job seekers have actually eliminated most options, except those with people who already know them and know what they can do.

The bad assumption people make when they try this approach is that someone will have the time to carefully read a resume or LinkedIn profile to determine where they could fit into an organization. No one — except maybe their family — care enough to take the time to do that!

You must do the work for the employer. You must show them exactly where you fit in their organization.

Generic = No Keywords = Invisibility

When you aren’t clear about the job you want (preferably at the company or at least industry you want), chances are good that your profile and other LinkedIn activities (Groups, Pulse, etc.) won’t contain keywords relevant to your skills and experience!

This lack of keywords is damaging to your career (and income) in several ways:

  • Recruiters with the right jobs will not find you when they search LinkedIn or do a Google search for qualified candidates
  • People who do, somehow, see your profile won’t know what you do unless they already know you
  • If they find someway to get past that, they won’t know how to apply your past experience to the position available at their company now
  • They won’t know how you, personally, will fit into their culture

You must know the keywords most important for your next job (check Indeed’s JobTrends). You must make them visible on your LinkedIn profile and branding.

And you can’t do that without knowing what you want.

To Be Hired, Be Focused!

Without an investment of time and effort into figuring out the job you want (the problems you can solve)  – you are impossible to hire! So, as a job or internship seeker, picking your target job(s) and your target employers is your first and most important job.

Don’t know what you want to do? Find help here:

  • Your state’s employment office/Career OneStop has people whose job is to help you find work
  • If you have attended a college, that college probably has a career center with people who can help
  • Your local bookstore and, probably, public library, have a book named “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles (it doesn’t take long to read, and it is extremely helpful (which is why over 10,000,000 copies have been bought)
  • Work on your “elevator speech” – a 20 to 30 second summary of what you want to do and who you want to do it for when someone is kind enough to ask what you are looking for

Be easy to hire: lose the generic branding… and present a focused brand to the employers you hope to impress!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe!




Susan P Joyce AuthorAbout the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe.  A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPostAOL Jobs, and LinkedIn.  Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.



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