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How to Build An Effective Personal Brand
The days when a fantastic CV and outstanding interview technique were enough to land you your next job have gone.
Recruiters are increasingly looking at online reputations and social media profiles to decide whether a candidate is suitable, so these days understanding how to craft a personal brand is a must.
In much the same way as corporate branding is vital to a business and how it is perceived by others, personal branding is now an essential requirement for jobseekers looking to make an impression on employers.
People do business with people, not robots, so you need to put a strong brand out there and commit to polishing and updating it on a regular basis.
Whether you have consciously created a brand or not, you will have a digital footprint which can be followed by potential employers.
You still need to have a killer CV and great application writing skills, but you also need to make sure your social media profiles and personal websites display you in the right light, showcasing the information employers want to see.
Tips for Building a Personal Brand
Cleaning up your social profiles
Cleaning up your social media presence should be top of the priority list when it comes to creating an effective personal brand.
Reppler found 69% of recruiters have rejected a candidate because of something they saw on social media, so it’s important to know how you can polish your profiles and keep them presentable. During the vetting process, you are likely to be googled so remove anything that shows you in a way that might be detrimental to your job search. You can change your privacy settings and make your profile private, viewable only to family and friends. However, according to a CareerBuilder survey, 35% of recruiters are less likely to interview candidates who have nothing online so try not to be too restrictive.
Social media can be used to boost your profile too. A Twitter feed full of insightful tweets about topical trends and innovations in your industry can set you apart, although one full of inappropriate comments will definitely not. If you are in a creative industry, think about showcasing your portfolio through Pinterest.
LinkedIn is a great website to help you connect and network with others who might become important to your career, perhaps as mentors, advisers or future employers. Make sure your profile is fully fleshed out with your current CV, skill set, experience, education, job history and anything else that might be relevant to your job search.
A picture says a thousand words, so make sure your profile picture and any other imagery you use is of a high quality too. Consider using the same headshot across all social media so recruiters can find you easily and remember to keep all bios up to date.
See Managing Your Online Presence and Writing an Effective Linkedin Profile for more information.
Creating a personal blog or website
Have you ever googled yourself and come across something that makes you cringe?
Perhaps an old press release or an outdated social media profile that isn’t flattering?
Your digital footprint is out there for all to see, but you can take control of it. Having your own blog or professional website means you can take people straight to the information you want them to see.
People generally click on the first five results in Google and if you have complete control of at least one of these, because the URL is your name for example, then you have a good chance of presenting yourself in the best possible light.
It may be nothing more than a simple “AboutMe” page or it could showcase your previous work and experience. It could also contain lots of insightful posts about the latest developments in your field, which in turn can help you engage with other industry stakeholders.
Having a personal website makes you look more credible as it shows you can write and that you are knowledgeable about your field. It also puts you firmly in control, allowing you to modify the information you want hiring managers to see. Given the speed with which job applications are weeded out, having a site as your calling card can really help you stand out.
Understanding how to network effectively
The idea of networking might fill you with fear but if you’re looking for a new job then it needs to form part of your personal branding strategy. A staggering 60% of jobs are still found through networking opportunities rather than traditional advertising so if you don’t do it then that’s a lot of potential jobs you’re missing out on.
You need to be prepared before you go to an event and be confident about introducing yourself. Have a 60-second elevator pitch ready, practise it beforehand and make sure you also store up some useful insights about your industry that you could reference in conversation.
Don’t forget business cards either. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t carry them yet they are inexpensive to produce and design. However, don’t hand them out too quickly, wait until you have built up a rapport with someone before offering them your card.
You also don’t want to spread yourself too thinly and approach absolutely everyone you can. Instead pick out four or five key influencers and consider what questions you can ask that will stimulate a meaningful debate or conversation.
Finally, don’t forget to follow up after the event. Whether it’s an article you wanted to send them, a LinkedIn invite, or your CV to remind them of who you are and try and keep the conversation going.
If you want to find your dream job in a competitive market, then you need to stand out from the crowd and a personal brand is rapidly becoming an essential part of this.
Ultimately, when building your brand you need to know what you stand for, have confidence in your identity and understand where you can add value.
About the Author
This article is supplied by Randstad, one of the leading recruitment & HR services providers in the world with a top three position in the UK and the United States.