I recently wrote about the value of understanding what your personal value would be to a potential employer and how that can really benefit you in achieving your career goals.
A big part of your personal development should include nurturing your personal brand as this ultimately is the first impression that a company will have before inviting you to meet in person.
There are multiple touchpoints that a potential employer or client might find you through and you really want to make sure you shine out from the crowd. Imagine yourself in bright shining Hollywood lights.
What will follow are some ideas on what to concentrate on to help you develop your personal brand and will hopefully be of benefit whatever industry vertical you work in.
This may seem like an obvious one but I’m often surprised at how neglected LinkedIn profiles can be. LinkedIn is such an integral part of building your brand as interested companies will look to learn more about you and potentially clarify information on your CV.
Some ideas for how you can make improvements:
- Make sure to fully utilise the summary & job description boxes to give a general overview of your career to date, and specialist expertise.
- Add skills & ask co-workers or clients to endorse you for them
- Ask for recommendations
- Follow relevant groups & pages to network and learn of new opportunities
- Add a professional photo and banner
- If you’re looking for a new opportunity then mark yourself as “Open to new opportunities”
Strengthen your Network
Whether this is via LinkedIn or in person try and exchange details with relevant people that you meet throughout your career as the bigger your network the more likely your chances of finding exciting opportunities that are outside the norm. It’s also often the case that you can’t remember someone’s name but remember certain details about them and LinkedIn has excellent search functionality which is much easier than leafing through that pile of cards on your desk.
I aim to grow my network by about 30 connections a day but always maintain quality by focusing on relevant individuals but do think outside the box in relation to this as a connection may be able to give you a useful inroad to a new opportunity. There is also the opportunity to passively learn of new opportunities before they are uploaded to job boards when connections post about them in their feed.
In regards to physically networking, there are so many opportunities for professionals to be able to mingle and though you may have had a long day in the office or don’t feel like getting up two hours earlier for that breakfast networking meeting you never know who you might meet.
Content is King
Content is so important in a market where the sharing of information is so simple and is also a great way for you to expand your knowledge as well.
Whether it be a post, sharing somebody else’s content, writing your own articles or making podcasts/video content this can all contribute to your overall engagement with your network of contacts.
Additionally, it’s well worth commenting on other people’s content with constructive comments or having a professional debate as you might catch the eye of a new potential employer. I would be cautious though and keep this commentary and content professional as though LinkedIn is a form of “Social Media” it is still a business tool and indiscretions are seldom forgotten on the internet.
Make Your CV Sing Your Praises
Your CV is often the first interaction a new employer will have with you so shout your achievements from the rooftops and avoid a boring list of roles & responsibilities. I would suggest focusing on what you achieved undertaking these roles instead. If you generated a saving for your current employer of £100k a year then say so. If you won “Employee of the Year” then mention it. If you’ve had an article featured in a trade publication then include a link.
I often also find that CV’s can be inconsistent with candidates LinkedIn profiles so do double & triple check that all the dates, promotions and details line-up. It’s also wise to keep it updated so when you want to make that next move or see the job of dreams you’re ready to move quickly rather than miss your opportunity.
Keep your CV simple and avoid stylised looks or overused templates as it’s really about the content not the look of your CV unless you’re working in a creative industry or role where your CV is another opportunity to show your skills.
I’m always happy to help candidates identify how their CV’s can be improved or just giving that second opinion that you’ve done a good job.
Make Your Social Media SFW
Social media is something many people now have but it can be a real negative point for employers and don’t be complacent and think your future employer won’t bother to check because they will.
If in doubt make sure your profiles are locked to the outside world, your profile pictures are suitable and that you reserve expletive-ridden thoughts about that food courier company that delivered you a cold pizza offline.
If you want to use social media such as Twitter or WhatsApp for professional matters then it’s wise to set up an account separate to your personal one to avoid cross-contamination and “accidents” that could damage your professional reputation.
In summary, it’s worth making every effort to strengthen your personal brand so all signs point to brand “you” so that next time you’re looking for a role or trying to develop new business the person engaging with you can do so and know that you are active in your efforts to self-develop. It may seem like a lot of work but you never know who is following you and what new opportunities wait around the corner.