This is a guest post by Karyn Mullins.

The social impact job market isn’t getting any less crowded, making it harder to stand out among the competition. Not to mention, the abyss of applicant tracking systems (ATS) is getting bigger and more likely to swallow your resume so you are forever lost in a sea of candidates.

If you want to stand out, you need to get creative in how you brand yourself — especially if you are pursuing a career that requires creativity.

Let’s say, for example, you’re looking for sports marketing jobs at a sports-focused nonprofit, like Young Athletes, Inc. or Athletes for Charity. Not only is it a creative field, it’s a popular one.

So how will you earn an offer over everyone else?

Dream Job

Here are four ways to brand yourself and come out on top in today’s highly competitive job market:


OneIdentify Your Mission and Values

Before you can market yourself and define your brand, you need to know what makes you tick. This requires some self-reflection.

What values do you use when you are faced with a challenge? What did you use in your happiest, proudest experiences? Make a list of all the core values you can think of, then prioritize them to create a list of five.

Once you have your values, look at your past accomplishments and start to develop your mission. Your mission statement needs to be concise and directly related to your short- and long-term goals.

Moving forward with the above scenario: you are pursuing sports marketing jobs at nonprofit organizations. Your previous experience in marketing and sales ignited your passion for connecting people with products and services that can help them. You want to combine that with your main interest — spreading sports education in low-income communities.

So tie your top values into your mission. For example, “Use my strong communication skills and passion to connect people and raise awareness about the value sports education brings to low-income communities.”

Your mission is a summary of your values and what you’re aiming to do. Once you can define your future, look at what makes you who you are today. You can further define yourself by what you already accomplished.


twoDefine Your Unique Skills

Whatever your skills are, whether it be design or writing, you need to find an outlet to share them. Let’s say you previously worked as a marketing representative. Look at what skills you developed and use them to create a project.

For example, you could self-publish an ebook about basic sales tactics you learned over the years. This kind of content is great for distributing to potential employers or professional connections. It starts a conversation and shows you are creative and driven enough to write and publish a valuable piece of content.

If you’re searching for sports marketing jobs and you have a body of work, whether that be from copywriting or graphic design, compile an online portfolio to showcase your skills. This is a great first step in building your online persona.


threeYour Digital Presence

Most HR professionals have hired people through social media at some point, which presents you with an excellent opportunity. Your online persona carries a lot of weight, so start strategizing about how you want to market yourself — a skill that is especially helpful when you are looking for sports marketing jobs.

Start a blog or a website to demonstrate how well you understand marketing and how deeply passionate you are about bringing sports education to low-income areas. Write about how sports education shapes today’s youth, important news and trends in the nonprofit industry, or even highlight leading philanthropic institutions.

This seems daunting, but most people agree that personal websites are vital to the job search. In fact, the 2015 Searching for Work in the Digital Era report by Pew Research Center found that 74 percent of 2,001 respondents said it would be easy to highlight all their employment skills using a personal website.

So, start building your website now.

From there, you can engage through social media and drive traffic to your site. You can also host webinars and post videos that show your value to potential employers. Quality content, a memorable domain name, and a well thought out site are your secret weapons, especially as a candidate searching for a niche opportunity, like sports marketing jobs in the nonprofit sector.


Expand Your Network

When you are branding yourself and demonstrating your value as a professional, you need to know who your target audience is. By knowing who your ideal potential employers are, you can tailor your messaging to them, and you can also find professional networks that are relevant.

When doing your research, look for groups of professionals that fit into your ultimate goal. In this case, when looking for sports marketing jobs at nonprofits, you should join professional organizations that focus on marketing, sports education, philanthropy, communications, and other related topics.

You can meet new people and learn a lot about the nonprofit industry. As part of your content strategy, consider creating a podcast where you interview industry experts. This way, you’re creating content, expanding your network, and educating yourself about what to expect and how to succeed in your field.

When you attend networking events, direct other attendees to your website and your social media profiles so they can see your value. Being proactive and showing your passion gives you a major advantage when it comes to branding yourself in a competitive job market.


How are you branding yourself to land your dream job?


About the guest post author:

Karyn Mullins is the EVP and General Manager of, the one place with all the tools, statistics, and information needed to connect job seekers with employers for sports employment openings at all levels. Follow JobsInSports on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.