Whether you’re taking the first steps in your career, or are a seasoned professional, you’re likely to have heard the words ‘personal brand’ pop up in the past few years. But what exactly is a personal brand? And what makes it so integral to career success? Keep reading to find out.
Much more than your LinkedIn profile picture, your personal brand is how you package and present yourself to the world day-after-day. Whether that be while studying – as you show your commitment in group forums, or at work – as you collaborate on projects.
Imagine yourself as a product on a shelf. What would you write on your “packaging” to encourage an organisation to choose you over hundreds of other applicants?
Your personal brand will answer this question. Here are our tips for nailing it.
Overhaul your LinkedIn profile
Whether you have an existing LinkedIn profile, or need to create one from scratch, investing time in this platform is a must for developing and maintaining your personal brand.
The CV of the modern ages, LinkedIn allows you to put your education, experience, skills and motivations on show to potential employers and current colleagues. It’s a golden ticket for opportunities — whether you’re yet to graduate, are in a position you love, or trying to find something new.
Speak to anyone with a LinkedIn profile, and they’ll likely tell you about a time they’ve been approached by recruiters via private messaging on the platform. It really is a hot spot for growth.
Starting a new account? Take the time to look around and view profiles of other people in the industry you’re trying to forge a presence in. What are they highlighting? Jot those down.
Have an existing account? Comb back through your work and education history. While you may have the basic details there, it’s likely that you haven’t listed the granular ones. Is there a recent project you lead that you were proud of? Or a charity passion you’d like to turn into a working opportunity? Highlight these so that others can get a sense for who you really are.
Top tip: Even if you haven’t yet finished your degree, list your current course. Simply set the finish date as ‘until present’. Showing what you’re currently studying will show future employers that you’re one determined individual.
Make your voice heard online
Now that you’ve set up, or reviewed, your LinkedIn presence, it’s time to bring the skills and interests you’ve highlighted on your profile to life in the rest of the digital world.
Feel overwhelmed by the number of places you “should be” adding your two cents? Choose just one thought to share across the platforms per week, and commit to posting this on a set day, at a set time.
It might be a recap of your week on Friday afternoons at 5pm, or a kick-off post on Monday morning to share what you’re excited about achieving in the week ahead.
Doing so will help your voice become better known in your working circles, opening you up to greater opportunities.
Get out there IRL
So you’re now a pro at creating a stellar digital presence for your career. But what about IRL (“in real life” for those playing at home).
Showcasing your thought leadership, interests, passions and challenges in person at events, conferences and workshops is the final piece of the personal branding puzzle.
Do so, and you can cement the connections you’re starting to gather online, or better yet, meet new people who can open doors for you.
While adding yet another event to your calendar may seem like a chore, attending just one industry related gathering per quarter can help you become better known in working circles. Once people know your name, you’ll find that you’re contacted for more opportunities – because, put simply, people know who you are.
Who knows, you may even find you get asked to speak at a conference yourself? Now that’s personal branding.
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