Personal branding for job search
Want to know more about personal branding for job search? Confused about personal branding or just want to understand how to develop your brand more effectively?
Brand ‘You’ is the most important brand of all!
Personal branding has become one of the biggest buzz terms in recent years. If you haven’t bought into the hype but now wonder if you should have, here’s an overview of personal branding and why it could work for you.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is about creating a brand for yourself just as a you would when marketing a product. When it comes to personal branding, you are the product (or as is more likely the case, the service).
Why do I need a personal brand?
By developing your personal brand, you set yourself apart from others. While many candidates (or competitor businesses) might have similar qualifications, skills and experience to you, they will never be identical. The idea behind personal branding is that you can leverage your brand to achieve desired outcomes such as landing a new job or client.
Dr Sean Gresh of Northeastern University describes a personal brand as being very similar to a corporate brand:
(A personal brand) … is who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the way in which you express those values. Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate its value to customers and stand out from the competition, a personal brand does the same for individuals, helping to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.
As professionals, we each have our own story to tell. Dr Gresh insists that in today’s increasingly digital world, a personal brand is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s expected. I wholeheartedly agree. When working with my coaching clients, a large proportion of our work together is around personal branding. How can you expect an employer to understand your value if you don’t understand it yourself? And you have to get comfortable with telling your story in an engaging yet authentic way.
How do I develop my personal brand?
Personal branding guru Dan Schawbel has developed an easy to follow, four-step personal branding process to help you develop your personal brand:
- Discover – figure out who you are and how you can brand yourself
- Create – create a personal branding tool kit
- Communicate – communicate your brand regularly
- Maintain – maintain a positive image on an ongoing basis
Identify your USPs
The first step is to identify how you can differentiate yourself from others. What are your USPs (unique selling points)? What makes you a better fit for a role and to an employer or client compared to someone else? Conduct an audit of your skills, values and strengths as this will help you begin to define your brand.
Find your niche
Finding your niche is an important personal branding strategy. If your current qualifications, skills and experience don’t enable you to develop a niche, what can you do to change this? What opportunities exist? What niche would you like to fill? What steps do you need to take to achieve your niche?
Although not everyone aspires to be an expert in their field, becoming one automatically enhances your personal brand. If you’re serious about building your brand, do whatever it takes to become an expert who is sought out by the media, employers, and others.
There are a number of personal branding tools that can be used to communicate your brand. Social media platforms are an effective way to launch and manage your personal brand. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and Vlogs are just some of the tools commonly used in personal branding.
Consistent messaging is key
A crucial part of personal branding for job search success is ensuring your brand is accurately, uniformly and continuously communicated. It’s important to keep track of where and how your personal brand is being communicated and this is easy to monitor online. You can for example, create a Google alert at www.google.com/alerts to be notified whenever you are mentioned on the web.
It’s also important to regular review your brand to ensure it meets your needs, and accurately reflects you. Be sure to update your brand as your career develops, for example when you gain new qualifications, skills and experience. Keep your brand fresh by regularly updating your skills, experience and knowledge and communicating these through your branding.
Personal branding for job search success is about getting clear on and creating the image you want to convey to employers. Think carefully about what you have to offer an employer and how best to communicate your brand. This will vary depending on your industry, your role and the organisations you wish to target.