Like it or not, if you have a social media account of somekind, you have an online footprint and by definition, a personal brand.
People are able to google your name, read about you, check out your photos and form an opinion of what you’re all about and what makes you tick.
As a result, the use of the term “personal branding” has become increasingly common within the recruitment community and for job-seekers it can be a very powerful tool.
Don’t get me wrong, there are also some high profile stories about “on-line footprint” having an adverse effect – we want to share with you some tips and advice on how to maximise yours, so that it works positively for you, long after you have gone to bed at night.
Why create a personal brand?
Most importantly, developing a personal brand allows you to control how you are perceived by others. Whether you're interacting with someone online or in person, a strong personal brand will help you make a memorable and positive impression.
There are several factors you will need to consider as you begin developing your own personal brand. Rather than inventing a false persona, your brand should be an authentic expression of who you are, what you value, and what you want to accomplish.
Taking the time to determine your values, passions, and skills will help you create a personal brand that is both memorable and genuine.
Instead of starting from scratch, your brand should be informed by your existing reputation. Start by writing down answers to the following questions:
- What are my ambitions?
- How do my friends and colleagues view me?
- How do I want to be perceived by people?
- What makes me different to others?
- What are my values as a person?
- In what type of environment do I feel most confident?
- How have my managers motivated me to achieve great things?
Personal branding is the process of determining who you are, what makes you tick, what motivates you to jump out of bed every morning and why. It’s also about what you aspire to achieve, and how you want to promote yourself to other people both on-line and off-line.
Think about how your colleagues, bosses, friends, family and other important people in your broader network would describe you and your most admirable traits. It makes complete sense for you to highlight these qualities as you work on your personal brand.
There’s another reason why this is a great exercise to do - these types of personality question will be asked at interview, and you want everything you say to be “on-brand”.
Creating your brand - First things first. Type your name into google, with your current company name, and see what comes up. Then do the same with your email address. This is how potential employers will carry out their audit on you before/after an interview or job offer.
Once you have done this, it’s time to get to work on:
- Your Linkedin profile
- Your facebook security settings
- Your twitter account/s
- Other social channels that you use
We have already covered off Linkedin – click here for more information.
In terms of marketing yourself we strongly recommend that you use Linkedin’s blog platform to showcase your knowledge and expertise at least once a quarter. Linkedin is the place to concentrate the majority of your professional personal branding efforts, as even if you’re not looking for a job, the chances are that you’ll be looking to hire into your team in the not too distant future and guess what, candidates will be checking you out as a potential boss too!
Facebook is an easy one too, we simply advise that you are diligent and lock down your image library from general public consumption. What people write and share on facebook is very rarely a reason to hire someone, but it can become quite a compelling reason to reject an application. Put simply, don’t take the risk.
With regards to twitter, this is the channel that can catch people out. Our general rule is, don’t use twitter to like or re-tweet anything that you wouldn’t want your boss/mum to hear you say in public.
Once you have worked on your on-line personal branding, it’s important that you take the time to update and improve your off-line tools such as your CV, covering letter, personal email address (so that it is professional – you’d be surpised what some people use!) and your interview technique. We have covered all of these within our candidate insight section, click below to access our additional hints and tips.
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