“Tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes.” – Richard Branson
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” – Oprah Winfrey
As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, there is a growing trend towards creating your personal brand. Even more so with the rise of LinkedIn and other social media channels.
Much like a company brand, your personal brand is designed to show your unique points and qualities. To distinguish you from the crowd. In a recruitment scenario, it may be your personal brand that gives you the edge and secures you the position. Here are a few ideas on how to develop it:
Develop a personal branding statement
Your personal branding statement is designed to provide a brief overview of who you are as an individual. It should be specific – short enough to post as your profile sentence on LinkedIn or Twitter, so no more than three to four sentences maximum. Here’s an example:
“A dynamic and personable marketing professional with specific retail industry expertise. Active fund-raiser through various sports challenges and ambitions to climb Mount Everest. Highly organised strategic thinker with a keen eye for planning and detail. In-depth knowledge of Middle East markets.”
At the same time, start building your online presence in other ways – through a personal website or blog page for example. Research suggests that employers are more likely to select a candidate that has an established online presence.
Keeping your personal branding statement short you need to give it impact. What defines you? What are your professional strengths, accomplishments, unique attributes, personality traits or aspirations? What motivates you? What are you passionate about?
As importantly, who is your audience? What demographics do they fall within? Which professional segments are you aiming towards? Which decision makers do you want to attract?
Like your own circumstances, your personal branding statement is changeable – not written in stone. So review it from time-to-time and update it. By doing so, you’ll make it stronger and more relevant as time goes on.
Protect your image
The way you portray yourself visually is hugely important here. If your personal branding efforts are professionally-motivated, do not post a LinkedIn profile picture that shows you disheveled in a nightclub. Even your personal Facebook or Twitter page is under scrutiny here – employers have been known to make employment decisions based on candidates’ social media profiles, and the nature of their posts.
The only way to be believable is to be truthful. People see through untruths and inconsistencies. Trying to be something you’re not will only trip you up in the end.
If you have excelled in a particular sport, community or professional endeavour, do you have the evidence to back it up – videos, certificates/awards or testimonials for example? Websites (mentioned above) are an excellent way of providing the next layer of credibility to your personal brand.