Find Work: How To Build your personal brand

Understand how to build your own personal brand online

Before you can start building your online reputation and your personal brand, you need to understand whom you are and what you can offer to employers. This is an important part of job hunting.

Just as importantly, you need to understand whom your audience is (whom you want to work for) – so that you can tailor your message to them.

In this article, we have an overview of how to find brand you and then a step-by-step process of how to find out what you’re all about.

Your goal here is to find out whom you want to work for, your main strengths, your motivations, your passions and where you want to be in 5 and 10 years time.

By that point, you’ll write your personal brand statement and summary or have to take the option to get it professionally written for you.

When this snapshot of you is put together, you will be able to push this message in everything you do. You’ll also be able to use the social media tools to connect to employers. It will be clear for them to see what you are all about.

This summary, personal brand message or whatever you want to call it will make you stand out from your peers and will give you a clear vision of what you want.

You should be excited about who you are! Let’s do this!

Action points

It’s time to brainstorm.

Get a pen and a blank piece of paper or open up a word document and brainstorm answers to the following questions:

What inspires you? What are you passionate about? Relate this answer back to your work and your career.

What have you achieved that you are most proud?

What are your five favourite activities?

What are your top personality attributes?

To be successful over the next 5 or 10 years, what would you want to achieve?

What brand/personality elements do you think your core audience will best respond?

If you are struggling with the brainstorming try these sites out:

The Keirsey Temperament Test (Google it) – will help you discover your personality type (free).

DiscoverYourPersonality.com – online tests to find out more about your personality and desired career. Mostly free.

If you are one of those individuals who feels uncomfortable with the concept of creating your own brand online, then ask yourself this:

What risk am I taking by not finding the time to showing my strengths online?

The answers are clear:

1. You will not stand out from the crowd.

2. You won’t have a clear vision of where your life and career is going and will continue to wander through the next few years.

When employers search for you online, they won’t get the clear understanding of who you are and where you are heading. Leading to less job and career opportunities.

Now you have brainstormed the answers, it’s time to go on to the next steps:

>>> Establishing who you want to work for
>>> Knowing what they are looking for
>>> Differentiating yourself online
>>> Putting your marketing plan together

FIND YOUR BRAND

Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand? What would you stand for? What is unique to you?

By thinking of yourself as a brand and looking at your assets that you can show others, will make you stand out from the crowd.

Building a brand requires you to dig deep into your imagination and creativity, to look at yourself from an outside perspective.

Consider the features that make you and features that you respect and you can start building your brand attributes.

Now, you may not believe in blowing your own trumpet and drawing attention to yourself. If this is the case, you must fully digest the following:

We are living a more congested and competitive world than ever before. Now is the time that individuals can stand out and take power over their careers. Now is the time where those who take time to see what they really want and connect with those who can take them where they want to be, can really get ahead.

Now is the time to stand out and tell others what you are looking to achieve. To connect with others who are doing the same.

We all want to be special; we all want to feel important and we all make to make a difference to the world we live in.

Personal branding is relevant to all those people who want to create their own future.

We have to be more pro-active in chasing down our dreams. This course is designed to make you take action. More of the same, pushing your CV out haphazardly to job sites will just create more of the same results – it’s not going to get the results you want.

By being pro-active in creating your personal brand, it will help you:

–  Identify your core passions and life goals
–  Stand out in the ever increasing crowd
–  Focus your energy on the things that matter in your life. It will help you know what you want and this will have an impact on every aspect of your life.
–  Achieve success and happiness.

Ask yourself this: What are the risks if I don’t start creating my personal brand?

I’ll give you the answer: You’ll be left way, way, behind.

What is a personal brand?

There are thousands of definitions of what a personal brand is. The best one is by Dan Schawbel, in his book “Me 2.0”:

“Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.”

Tom Peters, also wrote, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Personal branding consists of three main elements:

–  What do you stand for?
–  What makes you stand out?
–  What makes you compelling?

What are you reputable for? How would your friends describe you?

Personal branding is also about addressing the audience you want to attract. What niche do you want to dominate? Who are the people that are going to care about what you have to say?

By discovering what you want to achieve, you can find the audience through Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook or your own blog.

So let’s start by brainstorming a personal brand statement…

It’s time to get creative, imaginative and get your pen out. Your personal brand statement is going to be at the heart of your mission for at least the next 12 months.

A personal brand statement defines who you are, why you are different and needs to be consistent throughout everything you do, on and offline.

So, take some time right now to answer these questions. Think deeply about your answers…

1. What are you most passionate about? What do you really care about?

Delve into your inner self and think about the activities, interests, challenges and situations that fascinate or excite you. What can’t you wait to do each day? Where do you want to make a difference? Who do you want to help?

Remember the famous Harvey McKay quote, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

2. What are you top 3 or 4 personal attributes?

Remember, don’t lie and be don’t be fake. You’ll always get caught out and we don’t what ‘fake’ being one of your attributes!

How do people describe you? Here are some top attributes…

Positive attitude at all times
Professionalism
Self-confidence
Leadership
Sensitivity
Flexibility
Someone who embraces change
Openness
Integrity
Commitment
Toughness
People skills
Judgment
Organised
Dependable
Pro-active
Creative
Analytical
Motivated
Sales driven
Collaborative
Resourceful
Forward-thinking
Visionary
Intuitive
Enterprising
Precise
Risk-taking
Accessible
Connected

3. What are your greatest strengths?

If you’re in a group situation at work or in education, what do you bring to the table that nobody else does?

Is the ability to foresee problems that are like to arise? Can you lead better than anyone else? Are you best at delegating and seeing other people’s strengths? Can you listen really well?  Can you articulate yourself in a way that not many others can? Do you have a sense of humour that helps make things fun?

4. What are your morals?

Your morals are the defining things that make you who you are. What rules do you live by? Do you believe in trying your best and karma will come to you in the end? Do you believe everyone should be given a fair chance?

Here is a great example of a compelling brand statement, sourced from Linkedin:

“A focused and determined business leader, I offer the entrepreneurial stamina and wisdom to drive bottom line growth and lucrative business, inspire employees to peak performance, and cultivate profitable business relationships built on respect, loyalty, and trust. My easy-going sense of humor has been a defining management strategy to bring out the best in everyone, instill pride, and mobilise them to make their company the best in the industry.”

At a bare minimum, your personal brand should show you are a positive, optimistic, confident, enthusiastic and motivated.

You need to make sure you are getting recruiters to like you. By being all of the above, you will be on the road to being likeable.

Researching your audiences likes and dislikes is also key to tailoring your brand towards what your niche and industry wants.

For example, if you are looking to work abroad teaching English to Chinese children you are going to have to tailor your brand messaging a lot more differently than if you were going to be an accountant.

One audience is looking for a well-balanced, understanding, qualified teacher and the other is looking for a methodical, analytical and forward thinking mind.

Knowing and finding your audience

There are going to be different settings for displaying your message to your audience. These might be:

–  A blog
–  A Twitter feed
–  A Linkedin status update (will differ from a ‘tweet’)
–  Your Linkedin profile

Your audience is going to have different likes and dislikes depending what career or niche that they occupy. They are looking for certain things in individuals.

It’s your job to find out what these certain things are. Apart from searching Google to do some research about the industry you want to go into, the best place to research is Linkedin.

Go to Linkedin and do a company search. Search for companies in your area that you want to work for.

Next, pull up all the profiles of people working at the company and try and isolate who the hiring manager is. You now need to discover more about this person’s likes and dislikes.

It’s not uncommon for candidates to get jobs just because the candidate researched the interviewer before going to the interview.

Think about it. If prior to your interview, you ask, “What is the full name of the person interviewing me?” Then you are able to go to Pipl.com and find out all about the interviewers dislikes and likes by doing a bit of research.

This ability to research people in the companies you work for gives you an advantage before you even get to the interview stage.

By being clever and seeing what the current employees are like (to see if you are like them and if you would fit in), you can begin to tailoring yourself to certain companies.

It could be that you find out that many of the employees in the company have a love of cycling and that you do too. You may have found the hiring manager has read the same books you love to read from the information on the Amazon app, on Linkedin.

So, take some action to research companies you want to work for and finding some details about the people that work there (via Linkedin). Set up a document (excel or Word), so that you can keep track of everything.

If you are entirely unsure what companies you want to work for then now is the time to nail down this information, too!

Should you fake it till you make it?

The old saying, fake it until you make it often goes when you are starting out in a career, as an entrepreneur or starting a new career in something new. But can you do it online? Is it really possible when everything is so transparent?

Do you want the answer?

The truth is that you can fake some things but not others. You cant lie online and think you are going to get away with it. For example,

– You can’t list books (on Linkedin) you’ve read on Amazon and turn up at an interview for them to ask you about the book.
– You can’t get fake recommendations on Linkedin and pass them off like they are real.
– You can’t lie about work experience you haven’t done.
– You can’t be someone you are not online; you simply have to be you.

Remember, the online world will meet the real world when you get that interview. Therefore, what can you fake online?

Well, you certainly can:

–  Word things in your favour in terms of your CV and over emphasise certain points over others.
–  Show enthusiasm, confidence and passion, even when you are not feeling overly boisterous. Twitter doesn’t know how you’re really feeling, just feed it positive words!
– Fake your good looks with some Photoshop? (Only kidding!)

Whether you have made it or are on the way up, you have the opportunity to make yourself standout online with the tools available to you.

Just be sure to use them in the right way. Good luck!