Brand You: Kick your career into the next gear
Picture this, after three years of graft and graduation you’re ready and primed to enter the world of work. Unable to stop thinking about your dream job you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect resume and filtering job searches until you find your perfect role. You hit send, confident your well thought out resume, skills and qualifications will surely land you an interview.
Then you wait…and wait…and wait…
Weeks pass and still no word. Finally you’re forced to accept defeat, left to wonder where you went wrong. The likely scenario? ’Brand you’ has let you down.
Right about now you’re probably pretty confused. You aren’t the CEO of a company, so you don’t have a brand, right? Wrong! You do have a brand, YOU! Your identity, personality, achievements, work ethic and goals all form the business that is you, or ‘Me Inc’ as we like to call it. Like it or not, we now live in a world where companies no longer hire based on resumes and cover letters, but the information they find online. Google yourself. What you find on that first results page forms the backbone of your personal brand. It’s the picture you project of yourself to the world; the picture from which hiring managers will form their opinion of you.
With 90% of all executive recruiters now conducting online research of potential candidates, done well, your brand is the single best tool in your arsenal for landing a great career opportunity. But neglect it and it will quickly become your biggest liability, hiring managers will have no choice but to form conclusions based on the snippets of information they can piece together. And If all they can find is photos of you sinking student night shots, you’ll likely lose out on the job to a candidate no more qualified that you, but with an impressive online presence.
By this point we’ve likely sold you on the importance of ‘brand you’ and you’re now wondering how exactly you get started. Well just hold your horses, because before you even consider a re-brand you need to understand what exactly makes a brand strong in the first place. The best brands showcase their owner’s skills, strengths and expertise across numerous online channels. A web search for such a person will typically produce the following:
- A portfolio style website and/or a regularly updated insightful blog
- A professional looking LinkedIn profile, which demonstrates networking activity and industry contribution.
- Proof of industry interest and contribution in the form of guest blog posts, articles and message board comments.
- Engaging social media accounts which convey personality, interest and values, minus controversial comments, excessive profanity and inappropriate images. That photo of you plastered and passed out in the bath tub might bring back funny memories of a great night, but it will do nothing for your public image!
We’ll admit, on the surface personal branding may appear to be somewhat of a narcissistic practice. An exercise in vanity, usually reserved for the self-interested or those looking to build a personal empire. But done properly, building your brand can be a very useful and enlightening process, with benefits that extend far beyond simple self-promotion. It’s a confidence building practice which will help you define who you are and who you want to be, one that will force you to assess your priorities, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately differentiate you from the crowd of competitors.
Whatever stage of your career, whatever your profession, the value of personal branding beyond self-promotion should not be overlooked. Quite frankly, in this day in age of social media, you can’t afford to neglect your brand. Not when 75% of HR departments are now required to search candidates online, with 85% of those admitting online reputation influences their decision.
Ultimately, you’ll need to learn to become your own PR, sales and marketing department all rolled into one, to ‘sell’ the very best version of yourself. Easier said than done, we know. But fear not we’re going to teach you how. But first you’ll need to do a little of bit of self-assessment, in order to identify the areas of ‘Me Inc’ that need most work.
The following questionnaire will help you figure out exactly how much TLC your brand needs. So take the quiz, get your answer and keep your eyes peeled for our next article by successful blogger Gallucks, who’ll be telling you all you need to know about building ‘brand you!’
Click here to get started!