When you’re launching or revamping your career, one of the characteristics that will make you stand out from other candidates right away is a well-established personal brand.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot more involved than just making sure your LinkedIn and Twitter avatars feature the same headshot. Fortunately, print can help. You can use print media to promote yourself in myriad ways — far beyond the basics of business cards and resumes.
Print makes you more relevant
Isn’t the opposite true — that print makes you less relevant? This is actually a myth, believed by the same people who perpetuate the notion that print is about to become obsolete. The fact that Newsweek is back in print, after a much-publicized year of digital production only, shows just how hasty the “death of print” conclusion is.
This is good news for those of you who are secretly rather fond of your stack of printed resumes. These and other physical tools for personal marketing should be integrated with your social media, online work portfolio, and other digital resources. These things show hirers that you’re more than just a list of skills.
There are many beautiful ways to brand yourself through printed elements if you embrace digital interaction rather than shying away from it. Some examples include:
- Presentation folders that supplement PowerPoint or online portfolio demos. Tuck a business card in an inner slot, and you’re good to go
- Business cards that embrace QR codes or other augmented-reality elements in their design
Don’t be afraid to get creative. There will be different parameters for how much creativity is appropriate, based on the industry you work in (or want to work in). Keep an eye on those, and use your personal branding as an opportunity to tell your story — specifically, how you believe this job opportunity is the next phase of your story.
Print makes you more memorable
Every job opening attracts a pool of candidates who are competing desperately for the attention of the hiring manager. As an applicant, you need to stand out from the crowd in as many ways as possible, and personal branding items from a reputable printer can help you do this.
It’s simple but profound: Holding an object in your hand increases your tactile memory, both of the object and of the person who gave it to you. This is why so many people opt for unusual textures, embossing, letterpressing, cutouts and other non-standard choices with their business cards and other promotional materials. Any extra element adds interest to the texture and makes you more memorable to your contact.
More than the basic tactile element, printed materials offer a personal connection that digital can’t replicate. The sooner you nail down the essential visual elements of your personal brand — colors or fonts — the sooner you can align your print promotions to the common goal of getting you hired. For a stunning example of unified personal branding, check out Fyn Ng’s arsenal of print, including the shark fin logo he created for himself by playing on his name. (Even his website’s loading animation features the fin logo swimming around)
Beyond the basic items you hand out in business settings such as cards and portfolios, you can take your promotion on the road with items like car decals and bumper stickers. Anywhere you can repeat your brand image makes you that much more likely to stick in someone’s mind. You don’t have to go overboard — ahem, covering your car in permanent graphics until you look like an advertising nightmare — but a little tasteful promotion shows that you’re serious about landing a job where you can maximize your talents.
Print makes you more versatile
Print can expand the reach of your digital promotion more than you may have considered.
For example, social media, video, your own website and a regularly updated blog go hand-in-hand very easily with print marketing. Making sure to adopt the same tone in your social media feeds and your printed materials shows that you’re an integrated voice — and it makes your brand more recognizable.
In addition to print/digital versatility, you want to show that you’re prepared for anything, even if there isn’t an Internet connection available. Consider having a few different personally branded items on hand, anticipating and reacting to different situations.