To stand out in the job market, you need a strong personal brand – here’s what you need to know about shaping your own brand identity.
The job market is fiercely competitive, which means it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do this? Building a highly polished and professional brand. Let’s take a look at why personal branding matters so much to recruiters and potential employers, and how you can improve your own brand identity right now.
Why Personal Brand Matters
When we think about “brand identity”, we usually think about how businesses advertise themselves to potential customers and job candidates. But brand identity isn’t just for corporations. It’s for people, too.
In fact, you already have a personal brand.
Think about it. What do people see when they search for your name online? What impression do you think people have when they read your Tweets or view your Instagram? Ultimately, that’s what a personal brand is – a first impression. So, when you’re trying to find a new job, it makes sense that you leave the best possible first impression.
Now that we’re clear on why your personal brand matters, here are the top seven ways to build a strong professional identity.
1. Identify What Makes You Unique
Everyone has “selling points”. You just need to identify yours and build them into your brand.
– What are you good at?
– Why should a recruiter choose you over your competition?
– How do you want people to perceive you?
Begin by asking yourself these questions and use the answers as the building blocks for your brand identity.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
– Identify whom you’re actually talking to – in this case, hiring managers
– Take a look at their profiles and figure out how they present themselves
– What do they like? What works for them?
By aligning yourself with your target audience, you can refine your personal brand.
3. Know Your Competition
Distinguish yourself from the competition. Here are some tips:
– Look at who your target audience normally recruits
– Consider what makes you similar, and what makes you stand out
– Check out your competition on LinkedIn
– What skills do you have that they don’t?
4. Choose an Angle
Next, you need to set a tone. Consider your:
– Personal appearance
– Writing style
– Online network
Ultimately, your personal brand tells a story of who you are. How does your network, appearance and writing style support this story?
5. Build Your Online Presence
– Speaking of online networks, it’s vital that you build connections and make yourself known
– Choose professional headshots for your profile pictures
– Connect with industry professionals on LinkedIn
– Post relevant and professional content
– Craft an email signature if you plan on emailing job applications
Consider building a website, if this helps you stand out in your industry (you’ll already know this once you’ve researched your target audience and competition).
6. Review Your Progress
Your personal brand should grow and improve as you do. So, review your brand at regular intervals. Is your personal brand still accurate? And is it working, or do you need to refine it some more?
Remember, there’s always room for improvement.
Your personal brand is a crucial asset. Get it right, and you’ll instantly distinguish yourself from other candidates.