When applying for jobs, you want to do your best to distinguish yourself from a host of other applicants, who are likely to have similar qualifications to you. One of the best ways to do this is by ensuring you’ve cultivated a strong personal brand – this way, you’re able to showcase exactly how you perceive yourself and why you’d make a good hire.
A strong personal brand communicates not only your professional qualifications but also your character and personal values. When companies hire, they’re also looking out for strong cultural fits, so having something tangible to convey how you’d get along with the wider team can be a great way of getting your foot in the door. Here are some top tips when it comes to building your own personal brand:
1. Reflect on what it is you want to say
Think seriously about your personal goals, as well as what you see as your main strengths and core values. You then want to begin building around that – for instance, if you’re a graphic designer with a passion for the environment, it may be a good idea to have an online portfolio indicating any work you’ve done towards this.
2. Think about who you’re talking to
Once you know what your core values are, the next thing to reflect on is who your target audience is, and begin working backwards from there. Are you appealing to a younger audience? You may want to think about your choice of platform- you’re far more likely to gain traction with millennials on social media websites than with senior executives, for instance.
3. Utilise all available online platforms
We tend to use the phrase ‘social media’ as if it’s one homogenous thing, but there’s a variety of ways to convey information, and a variety of platforms to do it on. If you have ambitions to go into Sales, you’ll probably primarily be wanting to build up your LinkedIn profile, but this doesn’t mean you can’t create a Twitter account in which you curate news that appeals to you or use Facebook to join local groups of like-minded people in the industry.
4. Have one core message, and curate content accordingly
Singling out what it is you want your core message to be will really help you distinguish yourself, and strengthen your personal brand. For instance, if you’re in education, this may be to encourage the implementation of technology in schools to increase student engagement. Your content can then springboard of this in a variety of different ways, from tweeting about the latest developments in technology to connecting with both teachers and software engineers.
5. Network and collaborate with as many people as you can
For your personal brand to gain exposure, you need to meet and connect with like-minded people, and for this, you need to network. Don’t fret if you feel like you don’t know important people in the industry- try connecting with friends from university or old colleagues from internships, and attend networking events to talk to people who have the same interests as you. Remember to connect with these people online and communicate the extent of your enthusiasm, and you’ll find yourself gaining traction in no time.