Your Personal Brand
Personal brand? It’s not as extravagant as you might think. If you have a social media account of any type, you have an online footprint and therefore you have a personal brand. When you have an online footprint, people can search and find your name, read all about you, browse your photos and they will unavoidably form an opinion about who you are and what makes you tick. As a result of the personal information that is available about all of us online, the use of the term “personal branding” is now very common within the recruitment community. The good news for job seekers and candidates is that it’s an extremely powerful tool.
If your online footprint is not in line with what the employer considers “the right direction,” you could run into problems. So we want to share tips on how to get the best out of your personal brand. That way it will work for you rather than against you, long after you have logged out and gone to sleep.
Why build a personal brand?
The most important reason is that it will allow you to control the way others perceive you. Regardless of your interactions with others, online or in person, having a strong personal brand will help you make a positive impression. Don’t make the mistake of inventing a false persona. Your brand should authentically represent you and reflect who you are and what you value. Take the time to determine your skills, values and passions; this will help you create a personal brand that is both genuine and memorable. Rather than starting from scratch, consider auditing your personal brand by coming up with answers to these questions:
- What are my values?
- What makes me different?
- How do I want to be perceived by people?
- How do my friends and colleagues view me?
- Where do I feel most comfortable?
- What are my ambitions?
Creating a strong personal brand is the process of determining who you are, what motivates you, what triggers your passion, and what you aspire to achieve. Essentially, it’s about how you want to promote yourself to other people, both online and offline.
Take a minute or two and assess how your friends, family, colleagues, managers and any other important people in your broader network would really describe you and your strongest traits. It will be paramount to highlight these qualities as you build your personal brand. And there’s another reason why this is a good exercise – personality type questions are always asked during interviews and you want to make sure that everything you say is “on-brand.”
Creating your personal brand
Let’s begin with the basics. Type your name and current company into Google and check what comes up. This will most likely be the first way potential employers carry out their search audit on you before or even after an interview or job offer. Done? Well, then it’s time to get to work on the following:
- Your LinkedIn profile
- Your Facebook account and security settings
- Your Twitter account
- Other social media channels you might use
LinkedIn: (We have covered this already, have a look here) If you want to market yourself strongly, which is never a bad idea, we recommend that you use the LinkedIn blog platform to showcase your expertise and knowledge once a quarter at the very least. LinkedIn is still the most powerful tool for the majority of your personal branding efforts. Regardless of whether or not you are looking for a job right now, chances are that you will be looking in the future, and maybe you’ll even be looking to hire someone for your team. And you know what? Candidates will be checking who you are as potential boss, too.
Facebook: This is an easy one, as we simply advise you to be diligent with what you post, and perhaps set your image library to Private. Truth be told, what people normally share on Facebook is not usually, if ever, a reason to hire someone, but it can definitely be a compelling reason to reject an applicant. So be smart and don’t risk it.
Twitter: This can be a tricky one. Here’s a rule of thumb: do not use Twitter to say, express, share or like anything that you would not want your boss or mother to hear you say in public. Use theseguidelines for any other social media platform you might be using and try your best not to forget any previously created channels that could contain information that isn’t beneficial to you.
Online branding work finished? Then it’s important to take the time to improve and update your offline version. Start with your CV and cover letter; don’t forget your email address: make sure it’s professional. You wouldn’t believe what people use sometimes! You have to be aware that even the smallest thing could have an adverse effect if your “on-line footprint” and what an employer considers “the right direction”. Therefore we want to share with you tips and advice on how to get the best out of yours, so it works towards your advantage rather than against, long after you have logout and hit the bed.