The term branding has long been relegated to corporations, but today almost every individual has a brand. For traditional companies, the strategy is about attracting new customers and building and maintaining relationships, but for the individual job hunter, it’s about establishing a professional identity to attract and impress potential employers. Many of us have not consciously cultivated these brands, but they exist nonetheless. With digital platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the question is no longer if you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and develop the brand, or let it be defined on your behalf.
These days, when you’re on the job hunt, potential employers are looking for more from candidates. Your resume is an important building block that helps determine whether you’re the right fit for the job, but it can only offer a glimpse into you as a person.
Personal branding unites your skills and experiences with your passions and behaviours. Incorporating your personality-your humour, your goals, your positive attitude-sets you apart from other candidates and helps maximize your chances of attracting new attention.
Advantages of Personal Branding for Job Seekers
- A cohesive personal brand can serve as your resume, demonstrating your skills and accomplishments in a publically available, digital format. This helps you to remain relevant in an emerging digital age. For example, as opposed to putting together a lengthy portfolio, you can simply send out a link to your published work or LinkedIn profile
- A personal brand with a dedicated following makes it easier to connect with others. Many people find jobs through the recommendations of others, so if you can connect with a large number of people in your industry, you’ll have a longer list of leads when looking for an opening or recommendation
- Personal brands attract recruiters. Most professional recruiters now use social media to do a lot of their scouting, so having an attractive personal brand could draw in potential job opportunities
How do you build a successful personal brand?
- Get involved on multiple platforms and align your presence on every channel, building your profiles as fully as possible
- Follow and engage with leaders and influencers in your industry and join groups and discussions to demonstrate your expertise. This will show that you’re an engaged and active part of your professional community. For example, look for Groups on LinkedIn relevant to your specific field and engage with other professionals
- Post frequently and update your profiles regularly. Also, be purposeful in what you share, posting content that adds value to your audience
- Develop your brand with a professional foundation but showcase the traits and habits that make you unique. If you have a fun hobby, show it off! Just avoid posting anything risky, potentially offensive, or something that might make you seem unprofessional. In other words, be yourself but use good judgement.
A successful personal brand is ubiquitous, continuously evolving and has a strong narrative. So, what’s your story? What do you want people to associate with you when they see your name? Once you understand how you want your brand to be perceived, you can start to be more strategic about it while remaining authentic to who you are.