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How to Create a Strong Personal Brand

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Having a brand used to be the preserve of large commercial organisations who would shower advertising agencies with money to lift their profile, usually through repetition and saturation marketing.

But now there is a new brand in the marketplace; the personal brand that each and every one of us possesses. Our personal brand is who we are as an individual and it is defined by everything we do and say publicly, particularly these days on the Internet.

In a job-seeking context, your personal brand involves the things that make you valuable to an employer and this article looks at ways to refine and build on your brand to make yourself as attractive a candidate as possible in your chosen field.

Why create a personal brand?

In 2012, CareerBuilder.com surveyed 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals on whether they used social media in their hiring process. 37% said they used social media to screen job candidates, which is roughly two in every five companies.

Two years later in 2014, Jobvite released the results of its annual Social Recruiting Survey, which revealed that a staggering 93% of hiring managers surveyed reviewed candidates’ social media profiles before making a decision.

This huge increase in just two years would seem to indicate that practically all employers and recruiters are now routinely checking our personal brands online. And that’s a very good reason to make sure yours is working hard for you and showing you in the best possible light.

How to create a personal brand

As you already have your own personal brand, you will not so much be creating it as refining it and then getting it out there for potential employers to see.

Audit your brand

The first step in this process is to audit your existing brand. Because most of us use social media to talk to friends and family, we aren’t always careful about what we reveal about ourselves online. And if we also aren’t careful about our privacy settings (and many of us aren’t), any non-PC comments or unflattering pictures of us are there for everyone to see, including potential employers.

So the first thing to do is to audit your profile on your various social media sites, tighten up your security measures and if possible, remove any material that doesn’t show you in a positive light.

Expand on your brand

If your current brand is made up largely of your resume, then you need to expand on it to reveal a fuller picture of who you are and what you have to offer. This can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Create a job profile on Profilr, where employers are actively looking for candidates.
  • Create your own web page. You can do this for free on sites such as Wix and it only needs to be a couple of pages, with your resume and links to your other online interests and activities.
  • Start writing a blog or guest post on other blogs relevant to the industry you are hoping to be employed in. There are plenty of free blog sites such as WordPress to do this on.
  • Tweet about industry-related topics and make yourself an expert in your field. Add at least one new post a day and make it interesting and thought-provoking.

Doing all these things online will not only display various aspects of your personal brand, it will also create more links by which a searching employer can find references to you.

One way to ascertain whether all this extra branding is having an effect is to Google your own name regularly to see where you rank on the search list (and if you rank at all). If you have a relatively common name, consider adding your middle initial to differentiate yourself from others with the same name. You could also set up a Google Alerts account, so you are notified every time your name is published online.

You can also expand your personal brand offline by networking in the traditional manner. Join clubs and associations related to your industry and network with others in your chosen profession. This can still be one of the strongest ways of finding job leads and placing yourself top of mind with employers and recruiters.

Refresh your brand

Once you have started to get your personal brand out there, don’t just sit back and wait for job offers to flow in. Keep working on your brand, adding fresh new content to your posts and blogs all the time. The more positive content a potential employer can find about you, the more likely they are to be interested in choosing you as a candidate.

As with anything in life, what you get out of all this will depend on what you are prepared to put in. It is no coincidence that most of the successful people in life get where they are through hard work and determination and getting a job is no different. If you want it enough and are prepared to do the hard yards, then promoting your personal brand can be a highly effective way of landing the job of your dreams.  

Having a brand used to be the preserve of large commercial organisations who would shower advertising agencies with money to lift their profile, usually through repetition and saturation marketing.

But now there is a new brand in the marketplace; the personal brand that each and every one of us possesses. Our personal brand is who we are as an individual and it is defined by everything we do and say publicly, particularly these days on the Internet.

In a job-seeking context, your personal brand involves the things that make you valuable to an employer and this article looks at ways to refine and build on your brand to make yourself as attractive a candidate as possible in your chosen field.

Why create a personal brand?

In 2012, CareerBuilder.com surveyed 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals on whether they used social media in their hiring process. 37% said they used social media to screen job candidates, which is roughly two in every five companies.

Two years later in 2014, Jobvite released the results of its annual Social Recruiting Survey, which revealed that a staggering 93% of hiring managers surveyed reviewed candidates’ social media profiles before making a decision.

This huge increase in just two years would seem to indicate that practically all employers and recruiters are now routinely checking our personal brands online. And that’s a very good reason to make sure yours is working hard for you and showing you in the best possible light.

How to create a personal brand

As you already have your own personal brand, you will not so much be creating it as refining it and then getting it out there for potential employers to see.

Audit your brand

The first step in this process is to audit your existing brand. Because most of us use social media to talk to friends and family, we aren’t always careful about what we reveal about ourselves online. And if we also aren’t careful about our privacy settings (and many of us aren’t), any non-PC comments or unflattering pictures of us are there for everyone to see, including potential employers.

So the first thing to do is to audit your profile on your various social media sites, tighten up your security measures and if possible, remove any material that doesn’t show you in a positive light.

Expand on your brand

If your current brand is made up largely of your resume, then you need to expand on it to reveal a fuller picture of who you are and what you have to offer. This can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Create a job profile on Profilr, where employers are actively looking for candidates.
  • Create your own web page. You can do this for free on sites such as Wix and it only needs to be a couple of pages, with your resume and links to your other online interests and activities.
  • Start writing a blog or guest post on other blogs relevant to the industry you are hoping to be employed in. There are plenty of free blog sites such as WordPress to do this on.
  • Tweet about industry-related topics and make yourself an expert in your field. Add at least one new post a day and make it interesting and thought-provoking.

Doing all these things online will not only display various aspects of your personal brand, it will also create more links by which a searching employer can find references to you.

One way to ascertain whether all this extra branding is having an effect is to Google your own name regularly to see where you rank on the search list (and if you rank at all). If you have a relatively common name, consider adding your middle initial to differentiate yourself from others with the same name. You could also set up a Google Alerts account, so you are notified every time your name is published online.

You can also expand your personal brand offline by networking in the traditional manner. Join clubs and associations related to your industry and network with others in your chosen profession. This can still be one of the strongest ways of finding job leads and placing yourself top of mind with employers and recruiters.

Refresh your brand

Once you have started to get your personal brand out there, don’t just sit back and wait for job offers to flow in. Keep working on your brand, adding fresh new content to your posts and blogs all the time. The more positive content a potential employer can find about you, the more likely they are to be interested in choosing you as a candidate.

As with anything in life, what you get out of all this will depend on what you are prepared to put in. It is no coincidence that most of the successful people in life get where they are through hard work and determination and getting a job is no different. If you want it enough and are prepared to do the hard yards, then promoting your personal brand can be a highly effective way of landing the job of your dreams.  

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