Why should you build a professional brand? Because it’s an essential part of the job search process. Potential employers are likely to Google your name, email address and phone number before calling you in for an interview.
According to a Career Builder poll:
- 70% of employers search for a candidates’ name to check their social media profiles.
- 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online.
The good news is that you can easily control what hiring managers can see about you online. And if you take the time to create your online brand, it can lead you to your perfect position.
Google Yourself to Check Your Online Presence
Before you start working on your brand, you need to know what you’re working with. So, put yourself in a potential employer’s shoes and Google your full name. What would a hiring manager make of the results?
Maybe there’s no results for you at this stage. This is likely if you don’t have a website or much of a social media presence. No problem — now you know what to work on.
Or maybe plenty of links about you appear, but the big picture isn’t professional enough. Perhaps your personal Facebook page is public, and you post a lot about your social life. Or you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile for years and the information is out of date.
Make Your Personal Life Private
We all have a personal side that we show to family and friends, and a professional persona that we display at work. To develop your career brand, you need to do the same for your online life.
If you have a social network page where you freely share pictures and post updates about your life, would you want a potential employer to find this? Or does your blog with your name in the URL put you in an unprofessional light?
Just like at work, your online professional persona should only be on show to potential employers. So, if you have personal social media pages you don’t want hiring managers to see, you should make them private. That means that the only face visible to everyone is your professional one.
Create Your Professional Brand Persona
Now that you’ve identified your private and professional content on the Internet, it’s time to create your online brand. To do this, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
What’s Your Personality?
Are you super organised, a problem solver or do you easily inspire people? Identify three or four qualities about yourself that would attract the right kind of potential employer.
How Would You Describe Yourself?
Who are you and why do people like working with you? Don’t just ask yourself who you are, but also who you want to become.
What’s Your Speciality?
What exactly do you do, or want to do? What’s the one thing people come to you for?
What Are Your Core Values?
What really matters to you? If you were a mentor, what would be the most important quality you would pass on?
What Are Your Passions?
What do you love to do? What’s the best thing about your current job, or the position you want most?
What Are Your Talents?
What do you do better than other people? What are your strengths and what skills and abilities come easiest to you?
Once you’ve finished, use these answers to write a paragraph about yourself. This is your brand statement. It’s what potential employers should first see when they look you up online.
Make Your Branding Visible
Now that you know what your brand is, it’s time to get the word out. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, it’s time to set one up. Or if you already have a social media presence that’s out of date, you need to update it.
Use the brand statement that you wrote to introduce yourself online. This will keep your branding consistent across all platforms. Then, flesh out the paragraph to suit the tone of each page or social network, whether it’s a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page, a blog or a portfolio of your work.
If you don’t already have a website or a blog, consider creating one or both to promote yourself further. If you’re an expert in a new compliance tool, why not write a few articles about it? Or if you’re a marketing manager, consider creating a website that markets you and your talents.
If you create a website or blog, make sure your name is in the URL. That means that when hiring managers Google your name, they’ll see your skills and expertise straight away.
Be Active Online and Share Your Knowledge
Now that you’ve boosted your online professional presence, it’s not enough to just sit back and wait for the offers to come in. You must market yourself to potential employers, so that they remember you and keep you in mind. To do this, you must be as active as possible on your chosen networks.
You’ve already identified your expertise and talents, so it’s time to start proving them to others. Be willing to speak at conferences or networking events, so that you’re proactively offering advice.
If there’s a video of a speech that you gave, or a PowerPoint presentation about a subject you’re passionate about, share it online on LinkedIn or your website.
Another way to boost your brand visibility is by interacting with others on social media. This means engaging in discussions with other professionals by commenting on their posts, or by sharing articles that you have found useful. If you think a contact will like something you’ve read, reach out and let them know.
This means that if the perfect position comes up, the hiring manager may already be familiar with your expertise and either reach out or recognise your name from an application.
15 March 2019