Personal branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands, who you are, what knowledge and skills you have, what makes you unique and what you have to offer. A solid personal brand sends a strong message to your potential employers and your wider network of exactly what you’re about. Job seekers should see this as a tool to give themselves a competitive advantage over other candidates.
Even though your CV forms as part of your personal brand, in the age of information which we live in today, employers are often looking beyond the CVs and want to dive deeper into a candidate’s background, often by doing some online research. In some cases, employers are actively avoiding the old-style recruitment methods in favour of targeting inactive candidates, often through the social media networks, because they can go directly to people who have the exact skill set they are looking for.
In a similar way someone who is looking to market a product or service would focus on its unique selling point, think about your own USP (Unique selling proposition). So, what makes you different? Is it a specific blend of skills or experience, knowledge of a firm sector or a personality trait? Once you’ve established what this is, make sure you’re using it to your own advantage
Get The Simple Basics Right
First, Google yourself and see what comes up. View the results through the eyes of a potential employer. Is it all reliable with how you want to be perceived? You might want to update your LinkedIn profile showcasing your professional achievements, but perhaps those tweets you sent back in 2010 might not paint you in the same picture. It could really be the difference between a job offer and a rejection.
The Online Presence
Most employers will search a potential candidate’s name online, so consider whether you can actually use this to your own benefit.
You could show that you understand the industry your job is in by sharing and commenting on up-to-date pieces on social media or online forums, You could even go one step further and write your own articles, blogs or get a webpage with a portfolio of your own work. The goal is to position yourself as an expert in your field of work.
LinkedIn has a recommendation feature which is a good place to start, approach your colleagues, former managers, customers or suppliers to write a testimonial for you
There’s nothing wrong with using social media to share the personal as well as the professional as that’s completely your choice. This could actually be a positive move; indicating that you’re well-liked and well-rounded could reinforce that you’d be a great fit for a business’s culture or be a great team-player.
You Can Take It Offline Too
It’s quite important to build a reputation offline too. Find different events happening within your local business community or industry and start networking and meeting new people. Don’t forget to use your business cards.
You can say yes to new opportunities; public speaking isn’t for everyone but if you’re self-confident talking about a topic it can be a great way to increase your network and improve your reputation whilst polishing your presentation skills and reaching a broader audience.
Put Yourself Out There
In personal branding, the key is just to get started immediately, it’s never too late. But however, it does require authenticity; there’s little point in overpraising yourself or not being true to what you stand for. It also requires consistency, make sure you’re sending the same message across all of the platforms and in face to face communications. Remember that building your personal brand will take time; building a reputation does not happen in a couple days.
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