Angling for a career move? Then the perfect place to position yourself for your next job is online. And these days, marketing and sales professionals are expected to have an online presence that they can bring into their new roles, network included.
But it’s more than just being online. A captivating personal brand can instantly set you apart from other candidates before you even get to your first interview—setting the stage for initial discussions with recruiters and hiring managers. And whether you realize it or not, every message you send, every handshake, every project, and every social media update is part of your brand.
But engineering a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a strategic investment. In 1997, Tom Perez launched The Brand Called You on Fast Company Magazine, sharing a wealth of expert insight on what makes a personal brand.
“Today brands are everything,” shares Perez. “You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description. Starting today, you are a brand.”
Here are three steps to get started on building a unique and compelling personal brand that will empower you during your job search:
1. Define your personal mission statement
Perez explains in The Brand Called You:
“Ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.”
He continues: “Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or your colleagues. What have you done lately — this week — to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait?”
Your personal brand mission statement tells your story to the public—exactly the way you want it to—explaining what drives you as a professional and what you bring to the table. Don’t overthink it.
And your personal statement doesn’t have to be limited to what you do at work. Try defining your why first with this four-question quiz from Forbes.
Want some examples?
I tell brand stories that connect your narrative with your customers in meaningful ways. Or, I don’t sell products, I build relationships by finding the right solutions.
When your mission statement is ready to go, share it in your LinkedIn headline, your Twitter bio, and any other channel that will help you spread the word.
2. Keep your brand consistent on every medium
Whether it’s your LinkedIn page, your blog, your personal website, or your Twitter feedback, your brand voice should sound the same across every medium. When you’re posting across social, share articles and quotes that are aligned with both the what and the why of your mission statement.
The same tone, style, and personality should shine through in your resume, cover letter, and ‘thank you’ email. Every communication should be undeniably you.
If you have personal accounts that don’t support your professional mission statement, make sure they’re private. Be cautious and limit any kind of postings that are in conflict with your professional brand, even when they’re protected.
3. Build your brand following
Enlist your network across every platform online. Reach out and connect with professionals with shared goals or backgrounds across LinkedIn and Twitter. Comment frequently on posts, reply to tweets and hashtag the topics that are central to your mission and your career.
Most importantly, be authentic. People want to engage with brands and people who are real.
Videos on LinkedIn and Twitter are becoming a powerful way for professionals to express themselves in a personal way online—sharing their achievements, goals, and best practices. Whether you’re sharing how to build meaningful relationships with clients and prospects, or talking about your experience at an industry conference, videos can make your brand unforgettable.
They’re also a great way to interact with your network. Ask for their experience in the comments. There’s no faster way to amass a network than by putting yourself out there with video on social media.
According to Hootsuite, video posts fuel 3x the engagement of text-only posts. And so far in 2019, video posts across LinkedIn have racked up over 300 million impressions. Added bonus? Native videos on the professional networking platform are 5x more likely than other LinkedIn posts to start a dialogue between LinkedIn members.
With these guidelines and plenty of resources at your disposal, there’s no better time to start building your personal brand and leveraging it in your pursuit of your dream job. Get started today, and good luck in your search!