Here’s how you can develop yours!
Developing your own personal brand is essential to your career progression. This is because the perception that colleagues and managers have of you can have a significant impact on your future.
So how do you go about developing your personal brand?
Make yourself indispensable
Boost your value to your employer by getting yourself noticed for the right reasons. Look at ways to improve your attitude, knowledge and skills while also developing internal and external relationships. Understand your business and have a commercial attitude. Be proactive and offer practical solutions to challenges.
Build your profile
Develop existing relationships, expand your network – both within your current organisation and externally – and get involved in new projects. It is important that you take a targeted approach to building your profile, however. Engage with projects that will give you the opportunity to build on your skills and showcase them to key business stakeholders.
Hiring, pay and promotion decisions are primarily based on individual performance. Meeting targets, motivating a team, delivering development plans, being positive, loyal, reliable and determined to succeed will make you a classic high performer. Many organisations make use of competency testing to support recruitment and promotion decisions. That’s why, in addition to being able to demonstrate your proven capability on the job, it’s important to be able to communicate your successes.
Even if you are not actively looking for a job, it is sensible to keep your CV up to date and relevant. It is also a good idea to make your CV competency-based.
How do you create a competency-based CV? You need to write it terms of action. Having established the context, describe what you actually did to achieve results. Consider what happened as a direct consequence of your actions. Competency interviewers are very wary of answers that always refer to ‘we’. Get used to talking about what you personally have done, not the achievements of your team.
Do your research
As obvious as it may sound, doing your research for a role is crucial if you want to stand out. Too many employers complain of ill-prepared interviewees who don’t know anything about the sector, the position or even the company.
To secure a new position, you need to have a CV that clearly reflects your skills and experience and you must come across in the interview as knowledgeable, enthusiastic and competent. Not only will it demonstrate your understanding, it will also show the employer that you are serious about the position.
Increase your market knowledge by searching the internet, and reading trade publications and websites. You will boost your credibility if you can reference market information in the interview. By demonstrating that you have a full knowledge and understanding of the company, and the industry that it operates in, you will show that you are genuinely interested in its future and want to play a role in its on-going success.
Raise your profile
Having a prominent reputation ensures that your name springs to mind when career opportunities arise. To raise your profile, you should network and get to know as many of your peers as possible by attending corporate social events and industry professional forums and by engaging on social media.
Business contacts can help to raise your profile, by putting new experiences your way and giving you access to useful resources. Through them you can find out about industry reports, topical events or practical solutions that will impress your employer or interviewer. Colleagues in other business units, sectors or regions may involve you in projects that will further develop your competencies, experience and skills. But to become known in the first place, you have to invest effort in getting to know your peers. So start by giving them your support where you can.
Manage your online reputation
Whether you are using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter or another social media platform, you need to think about who else might view your updates besides the people you think you are talking to. It is estimated that 60% of employers run Google searches on job applicants, so Google yourself and see what comes up. It will give you a good feel for what prospective employers may learn about you.
There are many online resources to help you make new connections and further your knowledge. Join LinkedIn and search for groups in the directory. Once you’ve found a few groups, contribute to discussions relevant to your industry — or raise your profile by starting your own.
One of the best things about LinkedIn is that it allows you to ask for endorsements from the people that you’ve worked with. These are displayed on your profile as a shining example of how great you are at your job. Some jobs are even filled through recommendations alone since the good word of a former boss, colleague or professor makes it easier for a prospective employer to trust you. If you’ve done a good job for someone in the past, ask them to recommend you.
Believe in yourself
It is very easy to get despondent when you are job hunting, particularly if you have been looking for a while or have been made redundant. It is crucial that you remain positive and confident, however, because competition for the best roles is fierce.
Take time to identify the experience, skills and strengths that make you valuable to an employer. Look at what you personally bring to the table – character and personality can be highly relevant. Also, a greater emphasis on softer ‘social’ skills means that it is important to include yours. If you have confidence in your abilities, and believe you can get the job or promotion, then this will show.
You’re unlikely to impress your current or future employer if your career demands exceed what they can offer you. While a clear focus and drive are essential, you need to be realistic and put your career aspirations into context. Bear in mind that market conditions are constantly changing, and consequently your expectations may need to fluctuate with the times. If you can remain flexible and open-minded, then your chances of fulfilling your longer-term plans are more likely to come to fruition.
When you are job hunting in any market, it is important to keep your focus and energy levels up. The winners are those who maximise opportunities and stay engaged. Don’t let your confidence get knocked. Instead, make sure you know your strengths and stay abreast of market trends. Understanding your alternatives can help you to feel more motivated in your current role – you won’t feel trapped.
Build on feedback
Other people often see you differently from how you might expect. So it makes good sense to ask your peers for their thoughts on your development needs. Ask your line manager for regular appraisals, debrief with your project team after every piece of work, and ask your recruitment consultant for feedback on your skills and how you can best demonstrate your capabilities.