What makes you stand out from other candidates when it comes to a role you’re applying for? With the vast number of applicants bidding for recruiters’ attentions for each and every single job vacancy, standing out has never been more important. That’s where your personal brand comes in.
What is Your Personal Brand?
You may not be familiar with the term ‘Personal Brand’ but you definitely know about brands in general. Think about some of your favourite brands, Nike for example, when you think Nike what comes to mind? If you’re anything like me, the word Nike provokes flashes of their famous tick log, and the slogan ‘Just Do It’. That is Nike’s brand, what they want consumers to associate with their name, how they want to be recognised, who they are. It’s the same when thinking about your own personal brand. Who are you? What do you do? What do you want people to associate your name with? These are the factors you need to define, and then promote, when it comes to building your own brand.
How to Start Building Your Personal Brand
Assuming you haven’t put much thought into the concept of your personal brand prior to this moment, how do you start the process from scratch? There may not necessarily be an ideal point to start at, as long as you end up covering all the bases, but for the sake of clarity, let’s say a good starting point would be setting up your own personal website.
You might say, set up my own website? Why, I’m not a web developer, or a graphic designer!? Ten years ago this may have been a fair comment, but times change, and when looking to build your personal brand, a website is an important step. Plus, unlike in the past, setting up your own website now is a piece of cake, even when you have no design experience. Numerous services are offered online that can help you do this, a few of which are WordPress, SquareSpace, and Branded.me. These and many others will provide you with a quick and easy way to set up a well-designed, respectable, and professional website, helping to promote everything you are, and all you can do.
Still not sold on the idea of your own personal website? A study shows that 56% of recruiters are impressed by a candidate’s personal website more than any other form of promotion. This alone should be enough to get you interested in the idea, especially since only 7% of job seekers have a personal website, meaning it would definitely help you stand out.
Project and Promote Your Brand Through Social Networking
Everybody knows about social networking; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you are probably using most if not all of these sites on a daily basis already. Devoting a little bit more time and effort into using these services to project and promote your personal brand could go a long way to helping you in your job search.
You need to ensure that the image you promote across all these platforms is consistent, and succinct, highlighting the things that you want to be known for. On LinkedIn for instance leave out any work experience not related to the sector you are targeting, or if you can’t do that due to lack of appropriate experience, make sure you draw attention to what you want to do in your summary and title sections. Include samples of the work you have done so that you can add credibility to the image you are trying to promote. On Twitter, make sure you fill in your 160 character bio section with information relevant to how you want to brand yourself, something that you can mirror in your Facebook profile’s ‘About’ section. Above all else, social networks are used to connect with likeminded individuals, so share links to content relevant to the brand image you want to create, follow industry leaders, and join groups and discuss content with others, simply put, get yourself out there.
Google Yourself Regularly, Go on You Know You Want to
I’m sure you have used Google for all kinds of research in the past, but have you ever Googled yourself? Come on, you know you have, at one point or another we have all done it! It’s ok though, you don’t need to feel vain for doing so anymore, because when looking to build your personal brand, Googling yourself every month or so becomes important. By searching for yourself online you can see how your personal brand is coming across to the world. You can guarantee that recruiters will be doing this before considering you for any roles you have applied for. By doing it yourself you can get out in front and change any old information that is no longer in keeping with the image you now want to present. Plus, it gives you a chance to get rid of those drunken photos of you from that New Year’s party 2 years ago, you know, the ones you didn’t know were even visible online.
When it comes to the modern job search, standing out from the plethora of other candidates is crucial, and building and promoting your personal brand can help greatly in this regard.