First things first – what is Brand You? Essentially, this is how you present yourself to the outside professional world. Everyone will see 'brand you’ – from your colleagues, the wider industry and ultimately the jobs market. Building a solid ‘brand you’ will help you stand out from other candidates in an increasingly highly skilled and competitive marketplace.
- When you are considering your personal brand, remember to stay true to yourself. It is much easier to build up a profile, grow and maintain it if it is based on reality and not fantasy. Don’t sell yourself as a strong communicator if you hate public speaking for example.
- Take stock of yourself. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Keep it real. Then look at your list. Is there anything in your weaknesses column that you could improve by doing some training or reading? Whilst weaknesses are not a bad thing – we all have them – it is a good place to start when looking at ways in which to improve yourself.
- While you are working on your less-than-strong-points, make sure you sell your strong points. Are you an expert in a particular field? If so, start to get your name out there. Write a regular blog on LinkedIn and share it across your other social media platforms. Look for public speaking opportunities at industry events and reach out to journalists, outlining your areas of expertise. Furthermore, get in touch with your local further education college or university and offer to do a guest lecture if it is relevant. All these things can then be added to your on and offline profile.
- Remember though, that honesty is the best policy. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Trying to keep a brand alive on a pack of lies is a nightmare and you will get found out, meaning you will lose credibility and people will find it hard to trust what you say. People love to gossip – social media makes that even easier. Don’t get called out for fibbing! Over and under-selling yourself is also a big no no. I know I am stating the obvious here – but under selling yourself means you will miss out on career elevation. Over selling on the other hand can lead to a big fail. Everyone embellishes to a greater or lesser extent – it’s part and parcel of today’s competitive workplace, but blatant lies are not acceptable. Don’t say you are an expert in social media if you don’t have a current and active LinkedIn or Twitter account. You will be found out and humiliated.
- Lastly, think about ‘brand you’ all the time. Don’t post inappropriate stuff on social media – whether you have had a drink or not. Associate yourself with brands and people you admire or aspire to. Before you post – ask yourself ‘will I regret this? Will my followers find this interesting/useful?’ Join the conversations – but only if you have something of value to say. If you aren’t sure then don’t post. Silence can still be golden. You never know, in a few years time when you are going for that perfect job these things might get dug up by a potential future employer.