It’s likely your objection to any concept of personal branding in your job hunt so far has sounded something like “but I’m not an influencer”. Well, I’m here to tell you that personal branding is no longer reserved for wannabe-socialites or corny Instagram models.
In the current over-saturated job market, standing out has never been more important; so developing your own unique tone of voice and showing your personality in everything you do is extremely valuable. The key is making yourself memorable, and here’s how you can do so to score your next job.
The starting point
What is your message? Do you know what you have achieved and what more you want to achieve? This is a great place to start. First things first, revamp your LinkedIn and use the sections as templates for the rest of your brand; we’re talking headline, title, summary and whatever else is relevant to you. What’s your unique value offering? Do you have any outstanding achievements or particularly useful soft skills? Weave these into your summary – and remember to talk like a human, don’t go overboard on buzzwords or corporate jargon (literally no one wants to read that). If you don’t have as much experience as others might, lean into your goals and ambitions and the skills that will see you achieve them.
Don’t be a crowd-pleaser
Don’t try and please everyone with your voice and message, or you probably won’t stand out at all. It’s best to be clear and concise with who you are targeting and what you are trying to achieve by doing so. This means your message won’t appeal to all, and it shouldn’t, it only needs to appeal to exactly who you are talking to – such as a hiring manager searching for next insurance broker. Yes, you are only an individual trying to get a job but having a target demographic in mind is not only relevant but will put you ahead of the game!
It’s a brand – not an act
By this I mean, be genuine and authentic. The only way you can truly have your own unique ‘brand’ (IE. the way people consistently perceive your online presence) is by being yourself and taking your key characteristics and really emphasising these across all your media and applications.
Explain your history like a story – not a list
Let’s face it, lists are boring – even recruiters think so. Can you find a way to explain your life and work history that’s enjoyable to read? Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about having an arty resume, but for your LinkedIn profile and ‘about me’ sections, give your history a narrative touch so it doesn’t send the reader straight to sleep. It’s OK to be a little adventurous with your own story – especially on socials.
Cohesiveness is key, think: wording, colours, images
Think of this step as a combination of consistency and overall theme; you want everything you put on your socials and applications to look and feel like you. This could mean using one key headline, and the same key words throughout your personal statement. You also want your imagery to match through use of complimentary colours, or at least using the same filter across the board. When in doubt go for black, white and neutrals for your cover photo and reserve colour for your profile picture – so they don’t clash. Having a bank of key images to use throughout your socials is great for recognisability.
Don’t forget to embody your brand IRL
Arguably the most important element of personal branding when it comes to scoring your dream job is portraying yourself the same in real life! Use the same title and key words as on your profile, even the same (or similar) introduction as to further cement who you are, as usually the person you’re talking to has already looked you up online. You could even go as far as wearing the same shirt or blazer to an interview as you do on your profile so you’re easy to recognize, plus easily remembered. Bonus points for wearing a bright coloured blazer or shirt (while remaining professional), because let’s face it, everyone wears black and white – can you do something a little different? After all that’s what personal branding is all about.