Next time you log into your computer call up Google, or any other search engine, and type your name into the search box. What do you find? Well it’s an interesting question because that’s precisely what many recruiters do when they have a candidate for a job. What kind of person sits behind the anodyne words on the CV? And we’re not just talking about embarrassing party pictures, we’re talking about the professional image that you present to the world, in other words your personal brand.
Tom Peters, the American Management Guru said “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are the CEO’s of our own companies: ME Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand call YOU”.
The advantages of developing a personal brand are considerable and managing people’s perception of YOU should be key part of your strategy for moving on in your career. Why? Well consider the benefits of being “well known” in your field. Recruiters and headhunters frequently call their contacts to ask for recommendations. “Who is the key member of that marketing team?” “Who got the biggest bonus last year?” “Who won that amazing deal?” If you are “famous” in your field then the answer could very well be YOU. Rebecca Shambaugh writing about personal branding in the Huffington Post suggests that “the perception that our colleagues, boss, and customers have of us plays a large role in the opportunities and promotions that come our way”.
So what can you do to start building your personal brand?
Ask yourself some important questions:
- What are your key strengths?
- What are your unique selling points? (the things that make you different from other people in your field)
- What five things would you most want people to remember about you?
- What are your career objectives?
- What are your key personal attributes? (i.e. integrity, creativity, reliability)
Now start thinking about ways to communicate your answers to each of those questions. One very good way to reinforce your online brand is to write a blog. Post articles about your area of expertise and make sure that you use relevant keywords that will help recruiters find you. Use Twitter to have conversations with people in your industry or business sector. If possible offer to speak at industry conferences or events. If that sounds too ambitious then offer your expertise or knowledge to colleagues at work. People who know about you and your skills and experience can become your champions so that the next time someone asks “Do you know a good Project Manager? everybody will know that’s you.
Having a personal brand is a great way for you to stand out to potential employers and you need to start communicating that brand through your online presence via the social media, in your CV and application letters and in your LinkedIn profile. Make sure that all your communications reflect the brand that you want to convey to the outside world. By controlling your personal brand you will significantly increase your chances of finding your next job.