What does it mean to develop your personal brand? It’s more than handing out several thousand business cards with elaborate fonts to people you meet at networking events or conferences. Personal branding is important with regards to building a successful career. It’s about how you present yourself to potential clients, recruiters or anyone else crucial to your career development.
So, the question remains: how do you go about putting together an original personal brand? We have put together some information that will ensure that you present yourself as an authentic brand that showcases who you are as a person – job seeker or otherwise:
Originality is key – possibly an obvious point but it’s essential that you stay true to yourself online and offline. Your image, voice and presence are important components and communicating them in a recognisable way will add to your authenticity.
Take care online – a survey by Workopolis outlined that 93% of employers will search a candidate’s social media profiles during the screening process. As much as that photo of you in a tropical country holding a cocktail is fantastic content for social media, your potential employer may not think of it the same way as you. Do spend a bit of time cleaning up your social media profiles that your potential employer doesn’t come across any red flags.
Marketing yourself is good – a takeaway point is that you should be relatable, personable and active on social media platforms that are appropriate to your brand. Your brand can be developed on your personal background, your professional interests, career ambitions and more; this can truly inform employers about your personality fit as a potential applicant.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool used by jobseekers and recruiters alike, and it can benefit both parties if it’s used effectively. Your LinkedIn profile acts your sales tool: it’s important to think carefully about the direction you want your career to take and also, who are the audiences you want to pitch yourself to or network with? Recruitment agencies, specific organisations within your sector, internal and external colleagues?
There are countless ways to ensure that your personal brand is expressed effectively across your LinkedIn profile, but we’ve listed just a few top tips:
– Put maximum effort into creating your LinkedIn profile: fill out all the sections from ‘education’ to ‘work experience’ and, definitely add your relevant skills to your profile.
– Customise your URL: when you sign up to LinkedIn, you are automatically assigned a random URL containing your name and some numbers. Changing it ensures that your profile is easier to publicise. Don’t know how to change this? Simply click on the icon at the top of your screen with your profile photo, go to ‘settings & privacy’, click on ‘edit your profile’ and edit your custom URL, which you’ll find in top right-hand corner of the screen.
– Choose an appropriate profile photo: the image should be clear and professional. A photo has the power to convey someone’s personality including energy and charisma and can attract recruiters to look at your profile when they’re conducting a candidate search. As much as adding a photo of you on holiday sounds like a good idea, it most likely has a better place on other social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
– It’s all ‘About You’: on your LinkedIn profile, you have a short section that enables you to write a little about yourself including sectors you’re interested to work in or have worked in, and what you’re passionate about (causes etc). Don’t be afraid to let recruiters know what you’re interested in – this may help them get a better understanding of who you are.
– Give and ask for endorsements and recommendations: if you’re thinking about moving on from your current role, do ask your employer, at the appropriate time, for a brief recommendation outlining your strengths in your current role and some endorsements for top skills you’ve expressed as well. In return, it’s a good idea to do the same for your colleagues as a way of thanking them for writing you a recommendation.
– Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities: all you need to do is go on your profile and look at your dashboard. You’ll find a section that says ‘career interests’ and a tab that enables you to inform recruiters that you’re interested in hearing from them and are looking for a new opportunity.
– Use keywords in your profile: recruiters will use keywords in their searches to find candidates that fit job description criteria.
– It’s essential that once you add a job to your ‘work experience’ section, you elaborate briefly on what you do in that role and perhaps even mention some tools that you use (such as design software etc.).
– Make sure that the dates of your work experience are accurate: if you’ve recently vacated a particular post, it’s important to add the end date to the role on LinkedIn. This will also help recruiters understand better who is available for work and who may be interested in moving on from their current role.
– Be inspired: Take time to look at the LinkedIn profiles of people you admire or aspire to. How does your profile match up with theirs, can you gain inspiration from their profiles?
Update your LinkedIn status: this is a great way to show that you’re interested in the work of a particular organisation by sharing an article they wrote and adding your own thoughts about it, showing your support for a campaign/cause. Build your knowledge of the sector that you see yourself either continuing to work in or willing to move into. Keep an active profile as well and regularly update it.
It’s easy to pitch who we are now, but it’s a real achievement to successfully pitch ourselves to the next career level. In defining your brand, think about not only who you are now, but where you are going.
All the best for your job search and good luck with developing your own, unique personal brand!