What exactly is a personal brand?
Your brand is the point at which your strengths, passions, skills, experience, and personal presentation all come together to form a clear, concise message that represents the value that you offer. For you to make the most of it, it’s important that this message be consistent across all platforms. This strengthens the association between you and your brand, so what when people see your name, they are reminded of the value you add, and they know what to expect from an interaction with you. Your resume, your social media presence, and the way you present yourself and interact in interviews or other professional settings should all embody your brand.
Why is personal branding important?
When you think of job searches, does branding come to mind? If you’re looking for work, it should. Establishing a strong brand is an important part of a successful job search, not only because it helps you stand out amongst a sea of applicants, but also because it gives you the confidence of knowing who you are and what you want. By approaching your search from a place of authenticity, you’re not only more likely to get a job, but the right job – one that fits your personality and work style, and helps you grow in the direction of your goals. When you’re in the right job for you, it’s easier to be happier and more successful at work, which will further assist you in growing your professional reputation.
What are some practical ways to apply personal branding?
Don’t forget that your resume is not just a record of your professional experience – it is an opportunity to market yourself to potential employers. Customizing your resume for each job you apply to will help employers understand how your brand aligns with their own. As you list out your skills and experience, always do so in consideration of the new job and company. Of the skills you possess, and of the things you have done, which are most relevant to this new opportunity? Research the company; can you highlight any professional experience within the industry, or accomplishments that align with its mission statement? Keeping important details such as these in mind will help make it easier for potential employers to quickly identify what you bring to the table – and why they need YOU!
Your Social Media Presence:
It is not uncommon for employers to Google applicants and check their social media profiles. For better or worse, what they find forms part of their first impression of you (especially with regard to how professionally you present yourself, and whether they feel you would be a fit for the company culture), so if you haven’t already, it’s time to adjust those privacy settings. If you’d prefer to keep a public profile, think carefully about the content you share and what that content might say to someone who is considering you for employment. Will it speak to your professionalism, reliability, positive attitude, or the ease with which you manage stress? Or will it paint a different picture entirely? Certainly don’t misrepresent yourself – this is a great opportunity to showcase your personality – but the key is to highlight those aspects which lend themselves to your professional brand.
You might be wondering how you’re going to showcase your brand in the interview while remaining professional. But keep in mind, your brand will ultimately be defined by the feeling you leave your interviewers with. Your professional presentation, punctuality, communication skills, and body language are the main factors influencing that feeling in the interview, so paying attention to the little things can create big results for you. Show up on time, prepared, and dressed appropriately. Be conscious of your body language – it speaks volumes! Don’t just recite information previously introduced on your resume – let your personality shine! Your pitch will be more memorable if you can talk not only about your unique qualifications, but also how they directly relate to the job at hand. This helps establish you as a well-rounded, competent candidate whose brand more closely aligns with that of the company’s.
Everyone has positive and negative aspects to their brand, but know that there are ways to proactively address these so that you can put your best foot forward. If you feel like you may have some branding issues to overcome (for example, maybe you’ve had issues with punctuality before, or you have a bit of a reputation for job-hopping), then stay tuned. This month, we will be exploring branding strategies for candidates in a variety of situations, and you won’t want to miss them!