The job market today is tough. There are thousands of talented applicants just like you applying for the same roles. Standing out for the right reasons from the outset of the application process is crucial to get to the interview and beyond.
A solid personal brand may be exactly what you need to set yourself up for success. Below we explore the concept of personal branding to assist you in your search.
What is a Personal Brand?
Talk about branding, and everyone thinks of logos, large corporations, and household names.
But at its most basic, branding is about making yourself memorable. It’s about the steps you take to influence people’s perceptions of a product, service, or individual.
A personal brand is all about how you promote yourself to potential employers and ensure that they see you in your best possible light.
Get to Know Yourself: What Are You Trying to Achieve?
The first step to achieving a personal brand you’re proud of is working out what you’re trying to do.
Understanding the motivations, unique experiences and contributions you bring to the table is key to differentiating yourself from other candidates.
What are Your Values?
Your values are the things that matter to you in the way you live and work. They guide your key decisions and determine your priorities. Living by your values increases self-esteem, sense of self-worth, and overall happiness with your life.
Therefore, before beginning to create your personal brand, you must consider what matters to you and how you can embody and live by your values in your working life.
Take a moment to define your career success. What motivates you? Is it money or power? Is it a balance between home and work? Is it a feeling of contributing to a broader purpose?
Many people use fulfilment and happiness as metrics for employment success. Insights about your motivations are crucial to establishing that for yourself.
Your Skills and Life Experiences
Many applicants fall into the trap of only identifying and sharing skills and expertise gained from employment. Don’t discount education and life experiences as sources of inspiration for your personal branding.
Review your career history and identify critical skills you acquired during your employment. List ways you can demonstrate said skills (we’ll look at these later).
Do the same for your life experiences. Consider expertise you developed through things like caring responsibilities, travelling, hobbies, passions, and interests.
As important as your strengths are your weaknesses. Consider aspects of your working or personal life where you’ve struggled. Are there recurring themes and can you show what actions you’ve taken to address them? Are there situations or environments where you know you don’t belong or don’t succeed?
One last and beneficial exercise for many applicants is to ask your networks how they see you, your essential qualities, strengths and weaknesses. Friends, family, former colleagues are a wealth of insight for you to tap. You may be surprised by their responses.
They say knowledge is power. You can use this fact-finding exercise to prepare yourself for what comes next. Building a personal brand that casts you in your best possible light and overcomes whatever challenges an application or interview panel throws at you.
How to Build a Personal Brand by Design
Everyone has a digital footprint. A quick Google search will reveal details of your life, including the content you share online, your networks, and any media attention you receive.
A personal brand gives a recruiter a sense of an applicant beyond an application form. A strong personal brand developed by design, highlighting your values, strengths, and expertise, is a more appealing prospect than one left to chance.
Above we gathered information about our values, work and life experiences, which we can now use to shape and influence potential employers’ perceptions of us.
Google Yourself and Review the Results
Does what’s revealed cast you in a favourable light? It’s easy to forget that social media is largely public and viewable by the masses. Would you want a prospective employer to see what you post? If the answer is no, it’s better not to press ‘publish.’ Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.
Always Be Yourself (In Person And Online)
Keeping in mind your prospective audience doesn’t mean you should recreate yourself. There’s always a balance between casting yourself in the best possible light and appearing insincere.
A perceived mismatch between your digital personality and actions can cause you to lose credibility, so don’t ever try to be someone you’re not.
Things like a caring personality and a good sense of humour can go a long way to establishing a know, like, and trust factor with recruiters, employers, and your wider network.
Use your online content to demonstrate the positive traits, experiences, and skills you collected earlier on while retaining your humanity. Consistent personal branding is vital and means being recognisable as yourself wherever you are, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or in real life.
Create a Content Plan
Getting clear on your needs, wants, and aspirations for your future is a real confidence-builder when creating content to support your vision.
Use your social media channels and blog (if you have one) to demonstrate and communicate that your personal brand instantly sets you apart from other candidates.
Consistently demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and experience in a relatable and valuable way. Speak directly to recruiters and employers in industry conversations while you do so.
Create a plan detailing when and where you intend to post, the kinds of content you’re going to share, the value you intend to impart, and the employers you’re going to target.
Demonstrate and embody your brand online and in real life, and you’ll instantly feel more confident, self-assured, and focused in your job search.
Don’t forget to use your existing network to your advantage. Employees often know of upcoming roles before they’re publicly advertised. Consistently sharing value and regularly appearing in the right people’s newsfeeds may mean you’re head-hunted or invited to apply for upcoming vacancies.
The Value of a Personal Brand
The value of taking the time to create a strong, cohesive personal brand can’t be overstated. It makes you memorable and empowers you to forge a career that aligns with your values, skills, and expertise, maximising your future prosperity and fulfilment.
Considering your wants, needs, and motivations for your next role and wider career helps you set the baseline for your future success. You’re able to make better, more informed decisions about the roles you choose to apply for and the companies you decide to approach.
Perhaps you need some support putting your plans into action?
Get in touch. We’re here to help.