If you have read career resources, you might have come across the term personal branding.
Put simply, personal branding is a way that you can articulate your unique value, establish an online reputation, advance your career and attract opportunities, as with a good reputation, both online and offline, head hunters and employers will be chasing you!
Now that is an attractive proposition, but before you get excited, you need to understand that branding is more about a process for your entire career, rather than finding a specific job today. It is not the magic bullet, but you should consider personal branding as it is becoming increasingly important. Why?
Well the world of work is changing rapidly due to increased globalisation, the proliferation of online social media and technological advances.
Combine these changes, in particular the online revolution, with the fact that competition for senior and professional jobs can be intense, has given rise to the personal brand revolution.
With accelerated changes, you need to think of your career in a different way. Shaping your career is something that is an ongoing activity. It is not about updating a CV when a new job arises, or networking only when you are shown the exit door or your current position become untenable to you. It is something you work on as an ongoing activity and the best time to work on it is when you are fruitfully employed, (not when you are looking for a new opportunity).
Now personal branding is a whole course, but to get you started, you need to focus on these two items.
- Establishing your personal brand
- Creating an effective LinkedIn profile
Taking stock of what you offer
What makes you unique?
What exactly do you do?
- How do you solve employers’ problems, alleviate a pain or add value?
- Who exactly are the type of organisations you want to work for. Where are they? What industry?
- What size? What needs? What are the adjectives you’d use to describe your ideal employer, innovative, cutting edge, conservative, liberal thinkers or perhaps creative?
- What are the specific benefits this employer gets from having you? What advantages, what results can they expect?
- What is your unique competitive advantage? What is it that differentiates you from all others? What do you do better, faster, differently? Be as specific as possible.
- What are your goals, short, mid and long term?
Now find out what others think about you
As a professional you may have already gone through a 360 Reach Audit. If you haven’t a 360Reach audit is a very effective tool to determine what others REALLY think about you.
You might think you are a direct and effective communicator, others might perceive this directness as arrogant or abrasive.
You think you effectively ‘cut to the chase’ – others see you as glossing over detail that could potentially impact on effective decision-making.
Getting feedback, is so that you can use the positive attributes in your brand (that we all have and should focus on) and modify your behaviours/communications that could be detrimental to your brand.
Try the 360Reach brand-assessment, which has both a free and paid version –
Take stock and ask yourself how and others see you in regard to reputation and performance.
- You have been recognised for?
- Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
- What makes you different from others doing the same job?
- Your key strengths are?
- You’re passionate about?
- Your employers and clients compliment me for?
- You’re very good at?
Creating an effective LinkedIn profile
Now that you understand your value, you can convey this value on LinkedIn. When creating and establishing an effective LinkedIn profile, keep the following in mind.
- Stick to your brand and remember your audience. That is don’t build a LinkedIn profile that revolves around saying ‘I’m just so amazing’. The approach you should take is to build a profile, in which you meet the needs of the target audience. That is matching what you have with how your knowledge, skills, experience and attitude can help others. AND if you are targeting employers / recruiters, how you can solve their problems, be it increasing their profit, solving a cultural problem within an organisation, streamlining operations or projects. Remember, employers are not interested in how great you are, they are interested in how you can help them and their specific needs!
- Don’t ever be negative LinkedIn– EVER! That means avoiding all conversations that could be perceived as negative.
- Make sure everything that you publish online or LinkedIn is of a high quality. Remember you leave a footprint on LinkedIn. Always go for quality over quantity.
- And finally keep your image professional. If you don’t feel confident or have the time to develop a professional LinkedIn profile get an expert to do the job. AND don’t forget to have a professional ‘mug shot’ of yourself (and avoid amateur looking photographs, or a snapshot taken of you at the Christmas party).
With these few basics you are on track for a winning online brand and being headhunted.