Whilst the concept of personal branding is not new, it is becoming increasingly important for job seekers.
Everyone has a brand, whether you know it or not, and the key to using it successfully is to continue to build and enhance it.
How would those who have ‘clicked’ on your LinkedIn profile perceive you? A thought leader? Technical expert? Quirky or conservative? Would they see your passions and values shine through your comments, articles or shares?
If recruiters or hiring managers read your resume would it be interchangeable with any other professional in your chosen discipline or would they see a unique individual with a skill set and aspirations, volunteering experience which make them think, ‘this person is a standout’.
Your personal brand defines who you are. Your brand is your reputation. A strong brand can give you that all important competitive edge in a hotly contested job market.
Below are key tips to craft your personal brand:
- Define who you are and how you want to be perceived – Are you a leader, a subject matter expert, a person with a particular skill or talent? What is your value proposition? This is a key building block.
- Think about your strengths and personal qualities – Make a list of both your technical and soft skills and how these skills will benefit a potential employer. Consider your achievements and how you add value. Also, take time to critically identify your weaknesses and more importantly be articulate about what you’re doing about them. Do you need to undertake some additional training, development or just be more self-aware?
- Build your digital profile – Remember, social media can be your best friend or worst enemy. A LinkedIn profile is almost a necessity for any job seeker and a great networking tool. No matter what social media tool you use every like, share, comment, tweet or photo says something about who you are. Above all, think before you click!
- Continue to promote yourself (whether via your networks or adding value to your online presence) – Determine your target audience and allow your personality to radiate. Perhaps consider writing a blog showcasing your strengths and highlighting your values that are in line and consistent with your brand. Be innovative and keep your brand fresh.
- Utilise your networks – Invest time and energy in expanding and nurturing your network and centre of influence. Consider joining alumnis or attending specific industry events, proactively and systematically staying in touch with current and past colleagues, associates and social networks. Ask for referrals or personal recommendations. What opportunities are available with your current employer to promote your brand?
- Your personal brand is not only your digital profile. Face to face interactions are equally as important. Every conversation, meeting, coffee catch up will add to your brand. Make sure these are effective and positive interactions and consider how you can add value to your connection. Moreover, ensure they don’t detract from your brand! Be mindful of how you want to be perceived. Studies show that people are more likely to engage and buy from those they have a personal connection with.
Your brand should tell your story but make sure it’s the story you want told. As your career continues to grow and flourish your brand will continue to evolve. Brand promotion is an ongoing journey so make it your journey – don’t get caught standing still whilst everyone else is moving forward.