Brand Name or Generic?

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As with any career path, social media marketing requires a careful balance of being generic, to appeal to a wide audience of potential employers while also being specific enough to show a potential employer that you would fit in well in their environment. Ilana Gershon, in her book Down and Out in the New Economy, addresses this, noting that applicants “want to be able to show that [they] understand the genres and can produce something that can be compared to all other instances of its genre. At the same time, you want to be distinctive and also indicate that you are unlike all the others,” (85). It can seem impossible to toe this line, but there are ways. Personally, tailoring my resume and cover letter to a specific employer, while always keeping certain base attributes and experiences helps me to maintain some equilibrium.

It is hard to stand out from other applicants, especially because, as Gershon writes, “these […] genres that have come to be adopted and circulated widely […] represent complex human beings in such reductive forms that job applicants can be compared to one another,” (75). If all applicants are boiled down to simplified versions of themselves for easy comparison, how does one seem different? Its hard to know how to answer this, but emphasizing skills that you possess that you know the employer wants and presenting a clean, coherent personal brand in all of your materials can help. Getting your skills endorsed or getting recommendations on LinkedIn is also a good way to set yourself apart, as is taking advantage of Career Center resources, like their Networking 101 page.

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While it can seem counterintuitive to try to blend in with the applicants your competing for a job with, it is important to make sure that you are hitting the important beats of an application, just like the other prospective hires will be. Being versed in the genres required of you can help with this, as “job seekers, in order to be hired, are never using just one genre; they are producing a genre repertoire,” (68). That repertoire can be used to navigate the application process and make sure that you meet the requirements important to the people doing the hiring.

When applying for a position it is important to accentuate your strengths and show that you can improve upon your weaknesses. It is important, when doing this, to make use of your genre repertoire, especially because “genres also strongly suggest ways in which social interaction should take place,” (64). A genre repertoire itself is a skill I would emphasize, using to demonstrate my ability to adapt to challenging situations and compliment my communication skills in the workplace. To improve on my weaknesses, I would make a point to show interest in and seek out opportunities for growth and learning. It is hard to know what the right balance is to make oneself stand out and fit a mold, but with the skills and advice provided by Gershon, it can be done.