Having a positive personal brand has always been a good idea, but the fact is your profile is now visible across many channels. So consistency has become crucial for anyone serious about their career.
Your personal brand now spans your presence on social media, your relationships with past employers, your work network and personal networks, including how you work with recruiters.
Not only that, your personal brand is your reputation – what you are known for – and harnessing this will help you demonstrate what you have to offer an employer long before you meet a recruitment consultant or potential new boss in person.
Companies want to make sure that prospective employees are a cultural fit, as well as having the right competencies. Social media makes it easier for employers and potential managers to check you out online so it is imperative that you take control and actively create and manage your personal brand online and offline.
We expect employers to be even more discerning in years to come and articulating your personal brand will help demonstrate the value you would bring to an organisation if you’re hired.
Use these five tips to get started on developing your winning personal brand:
1. Conduct a "brand review"
List the words you believe people use to describe you such as “reliable”, “proactive”, “focused” or “often late”, “full of excuses”, “looks at his/her phone/iPad when speaking to colleagues”. Put some thought into what is working for you and what is holding you back. Ask for feedback from a manager or mentor but be prepared to hear the truth. You cannot change a habit or behaviour if you are not prepared to see it.
We suggest you review your personal brand as honestly as you can is an important first step to building a winning personal brand. Action items could include identifying habits you want to break or building new skills such as time management via a short course.
2. Social media
Your personal brand is only a click away from being viewed by recruiters, employers and potential managers. The good news is social media offers a quick and easy way to build, maintain and control your personal brand.
Ensure you align your online profile and activities with the personal brand you want to project. For example, if you are building a personal brand that stands for leadership and creative problem solving then you don’t want your online activities to be negative or clichéd.
We recommend creating and maintaining a LinkedIn profile and be active in endorsing skills and asking others to endorse your skills or provide recommendations. Consider joining online groups relevant to your industry or profession or even follow industry leaders on Twitter. Better yet, start an industry-related Twitter feed or blog to share useful insights and links.
3. Stay in touch with former employers
It’s vital you stay in touch with former managers and other referees to let them know when you are applying for a new role and if they will be contacted but also to project your personal brand values. Ensure you remain respectful of people’s time but provide updates about your skills and level of responsibilities where appropriate and congratulate others on their career wins. You never know who will be in a position to hire or recommend you.
4. Make the best use of recruitment consultants
Building a relationship with a recruiter is an important way to promote your personal brand to employers. Recruiters are also a great source of information about employment and salary trends and, of course, the details of any job they put you forward for.
It is vital that you put maximum effort into your interactions with recruitment consultants. If you impress the recruitment consultant, he or she will become your advocate with the employer. And even if the initial role is not right for you, recruitment consultants that know your personal brand values will remember you when other relevant roles come along.
As recruitment consultants are engaged by an employer to find the right candidate for a role it is important to always be consistent with what you tell consultants and employers. For example, if you tell a recruitment consultant you will accept a certain salary but tell an employer a different figure you risk destroying your personal brand with both parties.
5. Make time for networking
There is no point in putting time and effort into cultivating a personal brand if you never put it to work. Continue to update your LinkedIn profile and update any other social media you have created such as a Twitter feed or industry blog.
We advise keeping up with employment and salary news. Consider joining an industry association or professional group and attend functions or seminars when you can.
At least once a month make time for a coffee chat with someone who can help your career.
Stay in touch with recruitment consultants you have had positive dealings with. Even when you are in a job, it pays to keep valuable contacts fresh.