We live in an inherently social world.
While human beings have always been community-based creatures, the rise of the internet and social media means that we have more ways to connect than ever before. While the social environment brings a lot of positive things, like opportunities to network with peers and potential employers, it also means that every candidate needs to be constantly aware of how they’re presenting themselves to others.
As you search for the ideal role, everything you do and say online is either moving you towards your career goals or holding you back.
Why Everyone Needs a Personal Brand
Search for your name online.
Every piece of information you find about yourself forms the backbone of your personal brand. It’s that brand that defines you and illustrates your character to the public, recruitment agencies, and employers.
Personal brands aren’t just for entrepreneurs – they’re also the secret sauce that helps you to stand out among a growing pile of candidates in your field. After all, your personal brand tells your employer whether you’ll fit into the company culture and whether you can contribute to the right image for the business.
For instance, if you’re looking for a job as an accountant, a personal brand that’s built on thought-leadership pieces about finances and networking connections with industry peers can make you more enticing. On the other hand, if someone looks online and sees that you’re often rude and unprofessional on social media, that may make them think twice about offering a job interview.
The Benefits of a Personal Brand in 2018
As various job markets become more cluttered, and social media becomes a common part of the recruitment process, personal branding can be key to your career plan. Used correctly, a personal brand can be the extension of your CV that proves you’re right for a job. It:
- Separates you from the competition: Your personal brand is a way to take control of your reputation in the online space and summarise who you are for recruitment agencies and employees.
- Establishes you as an expert: People who earn the title of industry experts have a leg up in the recruitment world. For instance, if you’re an engineering professional, your personal brand might demonstrate your knowledge through interesting articles and videos you post online. It can also demonstrate the relationships you built with previous employers through social media connections.
- Goes beyond the CV: A personal brand gets to the heart of who you are an employee, allowing you to demonstrate more proficiency and talent than you can fit into a standard CV. The more you build your personal brand, the more it can sell you to an employer.
How Can You Build a Personal Brand?
So, how can you develop a personal brand that speaks to an employer?
The first step is figuring out what your skills are, and where you want to go in your career. With a solid career plan in place, it’s much easier to create a personal brand that resonates with the position you want. For instance, if you want to be a product development manager, you can focus on showing your leadership skills, innovation, and ability to work with others.
Once you know what kind of image you want to create with your personal brand, you can:
1. Find the Right Platform
Getting as many people as possible to hear your personal branding message starts with finding the right platform. You don’t necessarily need to build a website straight away, but you will need to think about how you can improve your existing presence on social media and other channels.
Audit your personal brand by searching for your name online, then ask yourself what you can do to display the identity that will appeal to recruitment agencies and employers. For instance:
- Do you need to delete some social media posts, or create a career-focused page?
- Can you share content that shows your authority? Like a blog on sales and marketing, or a podcast about manufacturing?
- Can you network with people to build your brand through association? The people you know can have a direct impact on your reputation.
Once you know what kind of reputation you want to build, and where you want to build it, focus on establishing as many relationships as possible with thought leaders in your niche.
Are you a technology professional? Record interviews with professionals in your space about their upcoming products and services. Commercial sales expert? Go to events and conferences in your sector and record what you learn.
Collaboration not only opens doors for you career-wise, it also helps to create exciting content that can improve your personal brand.
3. Choose your Personal Brand Statement
Finally, with a good insight into the image you want to create, and a network in the making, you’re ready to create a personal brand statement that sells what you are and what you can offer to recruiters. This is your elevator pitch – something that summarises your character into a single sentence or explanation. Here’s a broad template you can use to create your own brand statement:
I’m a [insert role]. I offer [what can you do?] for [sector]. Unlike other candidates, I [unique differentiator].
For instance: I’m a security professional. I offer state-of-the-art hardware and software knowledge for the technology sector. Unlike other candidates, I’m constantly building my knowledge through conferences and training.
Once you have this single statement, you can focus on refining your personal brand until it attracts and impresses the right recruitment agency.