Building your personal brand and online profile

Building your personal brand and online profile

Building your personal brand and online profile

These days, impressing a prospective employer is much more than just what is on your CV. Your social media profile is also to consider – your online, personal brand.

Having a positive personal brand has always been a good idea, but your profile is now visible across many channels. So consistency has become crucial for anyone serious about their career.

Your brand now spans your social media presence, relationships with past employers, work, and personal networks, including how you work with recruiters.

Not only that, your brand is your reputation – what you are known for – and harnessing this will help you demonstrate what you have to offer an employer long before you meet a recruitment consultant or potential new boss in person.

Companies want to ensure prospective employees are a cultural fit and have the right competencies. Social media makes it easier for employers and potential managers to check you out online, so it is imperative that you take control and actively create and manage your brand online and offline.

We expect employers to be even more discerning in years to come, and articulating your brand will help demonstrate the value you would bring to an organisation if you're hired.

Use these five tips to get started on developing your winning personal brand:

1. Conduct a "brand review."

List the words you believe people use to describe you, such as "reliable," "proactive," "focused," "often late," "full of excuses," and "looks at his/her phone/iPad when speaking to colleagues." Think about what is working for you and what is holding you back. Ask for feedback from a manager or mentor but be prepared to hear the truth. You cannot change a habit or behavior if you are unprepared to see it.

We suggest you review your brand as honestly as possible is an important first step to building a winning personal brand. Action items could include identifying habits you want to break or building new skills such as time management via a short course.

2. Social media

Your brand is only a click away from being viewed by recruiters, employers, and potential managers. The good news is social media offers a quick and easy way to build, maintain and control your brand.

Ensure you align your online profile and activities with the personal brand you want to project. For example, if you are building a personal brand for leadership and creative problem solving, you don't want your online activities to be negative or clichéd.

We recommend creating and maintaining a LinkedIn profile, actively endorsing skills, and asking others to endorse your skills or provide recommendations. Consider joining online groups relevant to your industry or profession or even following industry leaders on Twitter. Start an industry-related Twitter feed or blog to share valuable insights and links.

3. Stay in touch with former employers

You must stay in touch with former managers and other referees to let them know when you are applying for a new role and if they will be contacted and protect your personal brand values. Ensure you remain respectful of people's time, provide updates about your skills and level of responsibilities where appropriate, and congratulate others on their career wins. You never know who will be in a position to hire or recommend you.

4. Make the best use of recruitment consultants

Building a relationship with a recruiter is an important way to promote your brand to employers. Recruiters are also a great source of information about employment and salary trends and, of course, the details of any job they put you forward.

It will help if you put maximum effort into interacting with recruitment consultants. If you impress the recruitment consultant, they will become your advocate with the employer. And even if the initial role is unsuitable for you, recruitment consultants who know your personal brand values will remember you when other relevant roles come along.

As an employer engages recruitment consultants to find the right candidate for a role, it is important always to be consistent with what you tell consultants and employers. For example, suppose you tell a recruitment consultant that you will accept a certain salary but tell an employer a different figure. In that case, you risk destroying your brand with both parties.

5. Make time for networking

There is no point in putting time and effort into cultivating a personal brand if you never put it to work. Continue to update your LinkedIn profile and any other social media you have created, such as a Twitter feed or industry blog.

We advise keeping up with employment and salary news. Consider joining an industry association or professional group and attend functions or seminars when possible.

At least once a month, make time for a coffee chat with someone who can help your career. Stay in touch with recruitment consultants you have had positive dealings with. It pays to keep valuable contacts fresh even when you are in a job.