“Why would I want to brand myself? I am not a product.” No, you are not a product. You are so much more. But no one will ever know what you have to offer if you don’t make a concerted effort to show them.
Establishing your personal brand is not a new concept but is becoming more important than ever for both professional and personal reasons. If you are even the least bit active online or on social media, you have a brand. The question you need to ask yourself is - is my current brand reflective of who I am and how I want to be perceived?
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon
For those who know you, your personal brand is what pops into their heads when your name comes up. There are many elaborate definitions but your personal brand is simply a representation of who you are, what you value, what you do, and how well you do it.
Today, you are competing with people whose personal brands are strategically thought out and clearly communicated. If all that pops up when searching your name are photos of your weekend endeavors on Facebook and an outdated, half-hearted LinkedIn profile, you are doing yourself a disservice.
According to the Forbes article Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, a personal brand is “the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are… With the proliferation of social media and the gig economy, it has become essential for everyone to embrace personal branding.”
The advent of the internet and social media now require you to more actively position yourself and your expertise. You can bet that if you are (or plan to be) looking for a new job, applying to an educational institution, vying for a promotion, or searching for a new roommate, rental accommodation or life partner, you are likely being Googled.
“Employers and recruiters have fully embraced the power of the internet in researching candidates,” says Stacy Cowan, founder of Urban Legal Recruitment. “Your personal brand is an online portfolio and should clearly illustrate your expertise, strengths and experience. It also speaks to what you value. What kind of posts do you share? What causes do you volunteer for or promote?”
The line between your personal and professional life has become increasingly blurred, and an errant post on your social media could cost you that coveted job or promotion. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees (and likely, the numbers are even higher now).
Personal branding is not something that happens over days, weeks or even months. And it’s not something that happens organically (not very effectively, anyway). Here are some basic steps to take control and begin building a personal brand that authentically reflects your greatness.
Think about your goals, both personal and professional, and what you want to be known for. Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Bill Gates have well-defined personal brands, and not by accident.
Review your social media profiles and posts. Do they align with your mission statement? Google yourself. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective employer. Are you highlighting the expertise and values they are looking for?
Not just by making regular visits to your social media sites, but also by ensuring your reposts or Tweets align with your mission statement. Do the articles you post on LinkedIn speak to what matters to you? This is where you establish your authenticity. Having a consistent and active social profile boosts your visibility and builds trust and credibility.
This is always tough but feedback from professional recruiters, trusted leaders, friends and even family can identify potential issues and inconsistencies.
Share other people’s achievements (along with your own, of course), and offer knowledge, advice and support where appropriate. It often only takes a few minutes to help out a fellow human being who may be searching for something you can help with.
PWC has created a comprehensive workbook that can help guide you in developing your personal brand.
“Your online persona not only reflects your professional skills and personal values, it opens up opportunities to share your experience and serve your community,” says Shona Tischner, ULR’s Director of Executive Recruitment and Professional Support. “Creating and communicating your personal brand is time well spent.”
“Developing your personal brand is the same thing as living and breathing your resume.” -Gary Vaynerchuk
Life. Career. Opportunity Awaits. If you have any questions, are considering a change, or just want to chat, we would love to hear from you.
At Urban Legal Recruitment, we have experienced, along with our clients, the impacts of COVID-19. We’ve made the necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of our team members and our clients.