How can branding yourself as a great applicant help you land a Firefighter job? And what does creating your personal brand involve?
When FRSs are looking for new Firefighters they’ll be concentrating on those who have real passion for the job – and who know what the role involves.
Increasingly, recruitment teams are checking out promising applicants on social media to see what they’re REALLY like in their personal lives, and if the information they’ve supplied in everything from their application to their interview is accurate!
What on earth is my ‘brand’ – and why is it important?!
Your brand, quite simply, is you! Imagine if you were on holiday, and wanted to find the best attraction to visit – what would you do?
Looking online for information, reviews and recommendations would be a great place to start! This would give you confidence in choosing an attraction, and making sure you weren’t wasting your time.
It’s exactly the same for recruiters – except they’re researching the most promising candidates, like you.
Think of yourself as a solution to their problem, the vacant position, and make sure you make them very aware of what a great option you would be!
This is where marketing yourself, and creating your brand comes in.
Does all of your Social Media tell a consistent professional story about your ‘brand’?
Here are some steps you can take to make sure it does!
Step One: Choose (and edit) your Platforms
Decide which social media accounts you are going to keep, and to focus on. A great place to start is LinkedIn and Facebook. Make sure all of your information is complete and accurate, and do some ‘housekeeping – removing any questionable or inappropriate content (including posts, photos and tags) from years gone by that could have a less than positive effect on your professional image. Delete any old accounts you’re no longer using too, so there will be no confusion if a potential employer googles your name.
LinkedIn is a site where you can help your profile enhance your CV – so use all of the space available to fill in those extra details that you don’t have room for on your CV!
If you can use a professional looking headshot for your profile picture on LinkedIn, and an appropriate one on Facebook and other platforms – not an inebriated one from your latest night out, no matter how funny it may be!
Step Two: Be Consistent
Keep your posting style consistent, using a positive, professional and personable tone! Also keep an eye on your spelling and grammar in posts – especially on LinkedIn or if they’re set to the ‘public’ privacy setting on Facebook or other networks. It may seem unimportant, but these things matter!
Try to stay consistent with the ideas and topics you post publicly about, and the ways you present them so that you appear reliable and trustworthy.
Think of your public social media interactions as an extension of your CV – a reflection of your professional attitude and personality/. Avoid inflammatory, derogatory or overly controversial comments, and please don’t swear in public posts!
If you’re someone with strong opinions why not consider creating two sets of social media accounts? Keep one for public use and one for private use – making sure the privacy setting on this are strict and you are only interacting with close family and friends.
Step Three: Use your Contacts
Make sure your current references have copies of your most recent CV, and know the career path that you’re hoping to follow. and your job target. Remember, ALWAYS ask permission before using someone as a reference, and if it’s been a while since you asked, then check that they’re still happy for you to share your details.
On LinkedIn you can ask previous employers or people who know you professionally to give you recommendations and accredit any skills you’ve listed – make the most of this feature!
Import your email and phonebook contacts and reach out to make connections (again, especially on LinkedIn) you might be surprised at how many connections you’re missing!
Step Four: Post relevant content, and follow the right people!
Interested in being a Firefighter? Post fire service related content! This shows you have a genuine interest in the career and the service, and you keep up with researching news and developments.
Look out for the latest fire service news, or the latest developments or issues with your local FRS, and share it with a thoughtful comment. Share aspirational content and humorous (in good taste!) posts too.
Join and follow relevant groups focused on firefighter-related topics. Use the search bar on each network to find groups and individual pages. Social media groups (like our page!) can help you meet like-minded people, challenge and motivate yourself, and push you to achieve your goals.
Don’t be afraid to jump into discussions and add your opinion! If you just join a group and don’t participate, you won’t make the most of the benefits listed above.
Follow FRSs and stations you’re interested in working for online too – and be socially active on their posts, liking and commenting. It’s something that a lot of candidates overlook, but can really show your passion and determination.
Staying consistent across Social Media platforms and keeping your personal brand on point helps to control people’s perceptions of you!
You can really help to make yourself stand out above other candidates if you brand yourself cleverly and professionally – or you can damage an otherwise flawless reputation with content or images that don’t match up with your brand’s voice!