When we use the term “on-line brand” we probably think of Apple, Virgin, Next or any other company that comes to mind. You are probably not thinking of yourself. However, today almost every individual has a personal brand. Not many of us have consciously cultivated these brands, but they exist, nonetheless.
So, what is your personal brand? It is how you choose to present yourself. It is how you appear to the world. What does your personal brand say about you? What do you want it to say? The way you look, the way you speak, the way you act make up your personal brand. Each of these are influenced by your values, motivation, personality, behaviour, skills, strengths and your image.
Many people don’t know what their personal brand says about them; and few do something positive to build it, enhance it, and leverage it to support their career success. Identifying your personal brand starts with understanding and knowing yourself.
Your values are the essence of who you are. They are a set of standards that determine your attitude, choices and actions. If you have felt angry recently, the chances are one of your values has been violated. Values can change as you change, some are lifelong values.
Do you know how you’re appearing and coming across online? This is something you’re going to want to monitor on an ongoing basis and improve upon whenever and wherever possible.
How you appear online is just as important as how you appear in person. It can literally make or break you, in terms of others’ perception and your reputation. If you haven’t done a Google search on yourself recently, then you need to do one. Knowing what is out there on the web when people are looking for you, whether it is a future employer, a new manager or a client, is critical to managing your brand. Think about your social media presence, how and where you comment online, then look at what you are saying and how people are responding.
Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. It is an amalgamation of multiple daily actions. Do they present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional?
A LinkedIn profile is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references document and a moving and living database of your network. This is probably the most important profile to get right when job searching as potential recruiters can search for suitable candidates. A new job might just find you!
LinkedIn can also be used to search for jobs and make new connections. To make the most of your profile see the tips below:
- Keep your information up to date.
- Make sure you have a profile photo - a head and shoulders shot is ideal. Make it searchable.
- Use the headline – use keywords you want to be searched and found for and separate them with a pipe. E.g. Accountant | Tax Specialist | Financial Auditor| Tax Advice
- If you are immediately available, make sure this is clear.
- List your jobs in reverse chronological order.
- Create a video resume - a short video of you talking about why you are the best at what you do. Keep it short, about 1 minute is perfect. You can provide a link in your covering letter when applying for a role.
- Speak to colleagues (past and present) and ask for an endorsement or recommendation. Do not feel embarrassed or shy, you can reciprocate.
- Use your connections for introductions.
- Join groups which are relevant to your sector/role and be active within the groups – like, comment and share.
- Create and publish relevant content.
- Be professional and respectful.
Over 160 million people have Facebook profiles so your next potential employer, interviewer and recruiter will be on Facebook. Whilst LinkedIn is a professional networking site, Facebook is a more personal social network, however you should still consider this as part of your Personal Brand toolkit.
- Look at your profile photograph – does it convey the right image to a potential employer?
- Review your privacy settings, especially the one which allows people to tag you in photos.
- You want to have full control of what appears in your feed.
- Follow company pages of organisations where you would like to work. They will publish vacancies to their social media accounts, and you can use their status updates and content when preparing for interviews.
- Join relevant groups and actively participate – like, share, comment and create content.
- Carefully consider what you post and ensure it shows you in a positive light.
Make sure you monitor you twitter feed in the same way as your Facebook feed. You want to ensure that your twitter profile is presenting you in the best light to future employers and recruiters so:
- Make sure your photograph conveys the right image.
- Consider what you tweet and retweet.
- Follow the twitter feeds of organisations where you want to work. They will tweet job vacancies as they are advertised.
- Follow thought leaders within your industry.
- Be active – like, tweet, retweet, share content, follow and be followed.
- Monitor your following and what is appearing in your feed.
The digital sector has been one of the fastest growing industries for a long time now, but this increase in demand has led to an increase in competition. With such a rise in the number of people applying for the same jobs, it is now important than ever to cultivate your online portfolio.
To truly get the most out of your online portfolio, make sure that you set the time to promote it!
Your online presence is a great way to promote yourself to potential employers but remember that it can also be a double-edged sword. This is because it is not only all off your professional work up for anyone to see but also your private social media content. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you have your privacy settings in order and that you always act professionally.