Personal brand and personal branding has became one of the crucial career entities within the job market since recently. A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large. While personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.
STEP 01: Google yourself
It is highly recommended to do so at least once every three months. Are you happy with your results? Do you like what you see about yourself? If not, take steps to conceal any online content that might give others a negative impression of you. If you are not sure about something, ask your colleagues or friends to review what you’ve found and provide you with feedback.
STEP 02: Social media
These days, LinkedIn is one of the most important professional social networks. Consider it your online resume. Because it is online and visible to the public, it’s worth putting in the effort to fine-tune your LinkedIn profile as much as possible. If it’s too short or incomplete, without many detailed experiences or qualifications, it can negatively impact your personal brand. Potential employers may conclude you are not sufficiently concerned with personal branding or that you are not a detail-oriented person.
Be sure to:
- Complete your profile. Not only will you present yourself as a serious job seeker, but you will also demonstrate yourself to be a detail-oriented
professional who is capable of representing their desires, abilities and skills.
- Join relevant groups and communities. Connect with groups that are relevant to your career path, interests and future development. Include any volunteer work you have done and projects you worked on as well.
- Get recommendations. Reach out to your network for testimonials that can highlight your personality, performance, teamwork, collaboration, communication skills and other professional assets.
- Obtain endorsements. Ask relevant people you know to endorse your skills, focusing on the skills that are most appropriate for your career goals and past successes.
Things to avoid:
- Unprofessional photo. It’s better to have no photo at all than to represent yourself too casually. The best course of action is to upload a clear
and professional profile picture.
- Typos and grammatical errors. Mistakes such as these can indicate carelessness. Show potential employers that you are a paying-attention-to-detail person by cleaning up your profile.
- Being a job hopper. If you’ve changed jobs frequently, try to provide reasons that explain your behavior. You can also omit jobs that aren’t relevant to your desired career path. Think cleverly about how to spin work experiences that lasted less than two years.
- Low-impact wording. Avoid passive phrases such as “familiar with” or “participated in”, rather highlight your strengths with stronger action verbs such as “led”, “determined” or “created”.
You don’t need to be a widely-known business professional in order to run your own blog. Dig into your past experiences, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something worthwhile that can benefit others within your field.
For example, let’s assume you have been recently interviewing for similar roles with several different companies. You might discover that, despite offering roles with the same title, each company is looking for something different. Something like this can be understandably frustrating for job-seekers, and you might decide to write an article about what you’ve experienced. Rather than take a negative stance, try and explain the differences along with your feelings. Use your experiences to come up with recommendations others can use to prepare for similar interviews. Are you an interviewer yourself? If so, you might decide to highlight some common interview mistakes made by job-seekers.
Don’t be afraid to push your content outside the topic of interviewing. Any time you’re speaking with colleagues or friends, be alert for inspiration. If you have insight to share, those ideas can be transformed into a helpful blog post. Write down these themes when you encounter them, especially if you feel you can give a unique perspective on the issue.
Throughout our careers, we are constantly learning by doing. Each of us can evaluate what we’ve learned through our experiences, and by doing so, it can be easier than one might think to find a great blog topic.
How can blogging help you? If you are an expert in your field seeking new challenges, maintaining a quality blog will capture the attention of others in your network. They may spread your content for you amongst their respective networks, and this in turn can lead you to people you may want to work with.
“… but never forget that you can only stumble if you’re moving.”
I consider Twitter to be more of a professional social network rather than a personal one, such as Facebook. Even if you do not share my opinion, I still recommend that you refrain from posting overly personal content on Twitter.
Spend some time removing everything from your profile that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. If there’s something you can’t bring yourself to delte, you can still hide it from the public and restrict who can see whatever you are publishing. Limit your statuses to professional quotes, publications and articles that are relevant to your beliefs. This rule applies to photos. Untag yourself from any photos that are not supportive of your professional brand.
STEP 03: Other social networks
Github, Bitbucket, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, Behance, a personal web or blog—you name it, and there are surely much more, but my advice is the same: keep your content professional. If you’d like to showcase your personal side, try to obscure the connection between that profile and your professional accounts. Hide, or even delete, anything that is too personal, aggressive, negative, or anything better discussed with your friends over a beer than publicly on social media.
Remove any posts which portray a negative opinion regarding a controversial topic, and delete any content that might be used to discredit your personality and credibility. If you are a developer with some old junior code one one of your public repositories, it might be time to at least comment it properly, or hide it, as it is no longer representative of your current skills and seniority level.
- If you have dissimilar opinion, feel free to comment. I always welcome different point of view I can think of or have not crossed my mind yet. If you feel like I can help you in more detail, feel free to contact me.