Job seekers need to stand out from the crowd by creating a dynamic personal brand according to creative and design experts

Itís tough out there! Both job seekers and those involved in the recruitment process are up against it currently. Just for the record, 3,000 people a day are being laid off and UK unemployment stands at around 2.47 million, according to latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics.

With competition for jobs so tough, especially among graduates and school-leavers, and those in the recruitment chair having to wade through mountains of CVs and rsums to find the best people to interview, candidates need to ensure their ëjob-seeking toolkití is well-prepared, professional and creates a dynamic first (and lasting) impression. The UKís leading independent design, publishing and creative software company, Serif (www.serif.com ) has developed a series of tips to help job seekers create their own ëpersonal brandí and ensure they stand out from the crowd.

1. Catch the recruiterís eye with a personal logo
A well-written cover letter can make your application instantly stand out from the rest when emblazoned with a personal logo. As with any brand, a personal logo should represent a candidateís own character. Logos can be created quickly and easily using a desktop publishing (DTP) software program, often by modifying an existing template.

2. Add ëomphfí to your rsum with colour and graphics
Once the cover letter grabs the recruiterís attention, elevate a traditional text-laden rsum to a new level by incorporating finely-tuned colour pallets or accent graphics, but do not be tempted to go overboard. Add that extra bit of professionalism to a rsum by turning the document into HTML format or a PDF.

3. Continue the conversation with a personal website
Once a recruiterís interest is sparked, their first move will be to search for the candidate on the web. Make an impact by extending your personal brand online with an interactive website. You do not have to understand complicated HTML code or programming languages, or even have any web design skills when you use a simple web design package like WebPlus. With a little thought and creative input, you can create professional-quality, attractive and informative sites that integrate web 2.0 elements, like a blog, links to your Twitter feed or Facebook page and embedded video.

4. Leave a lasting impression with a portfolio and business card
Great qualifications, a perfect rsum and a great online presence can help get the interview, but then the focus shifts to maintaining a personal brand during and afterwards. Candidates can offer samples of their relevant past experience (eg. sample projects or writing) in a full-colour, seamless presentation and leave behind a personal business card with all relevant contact information, including website address.

5. Brand your replies and ëthank-yousí
Following a job interview, a candidate should send a ëthank youí note to the interviewer. Stay fresh in their memory by mentioning a point of conversation from the interview and include your personal brand logo on follow-up correspondence.

Amanda Fone, Managing Partner of f1 recruitment llp, says: ìGetting your application from the ënoí pile to the ëmaybeí pile to the ëyesí pile and then to the ëyes call immediatelyí pile is challenging. First, your CV should be two pages long at the most, just one page if you are a recent graduate.

ìA personal logo is an imaginative idea as long as it is uncluttered and uncomplicated. Remember though that most companies print in black and white, so do make sure that if you design a personal logo it works in black and white. A simple business card is also a good idea, especially if it is eco-friendly and bio-degradable. In a recession people want you to keep things simple – anything too fussy and complicated and employers will think you have too much time (and money) on your hands.î