Creating a personal brand, in a labour market currently saturated by job seekers, may turn out to be an indispensable strategy to self-differentiate, improve reputation and increase job opportunities. With the rise of social media, personal branding has become the most effective business card, both to highlight our professional accomplishments and to get new job alternatives.
The concept of personal branding was coined in the USA by Tom Peters, first appearing in the article “The Brand called You” in Fast Company magazine in 1997, as a job-seeking technique which involves considering oneself as a brand name.
A brand that must define its goals, expectations and values, set actions to protect them, and eventually convey them, for the purpose of self-differentiation and a greater success regarding social and professional relationships. After all, this is nothing but a notion based on Marketing strategies in order to highlight the skills and features that make us stand out, thus improving and increasing our visibility in the labour market and positioning us among the most prominent professionals in our sector.
Nowadays, being good at something is not enough. The others must be aware of it. Personal branding features competitive and distinguishing advantages to achieve that purpose. However, it is a demanding, patience-consuming process, since results are obtained in the long term, involving a great deal of new technology usage as well.
In VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environments, such as the current situation of the market, not even a strong personal brand does guarantee either the best position or the best company to work for, but it provides a greater chance of being considered as a candidate in recruiting processes, hence increasing the prospects of finding a new job considerably.
A reflection of ourselves
To start creating your personal brand, it’s essential to choose a single career goal, that is, to define and target the market niche you really want to work around. In addition, a brand requires continuous, almost daily pampering, that’s why it is crucial to keep learning new skills and grow professionally in order to add new competences and enhance our profile steadily.
It should not be forgotten that our personal brand must portray us the way we are, as a reflection of ourselves, with feelings and emotions, without faking or inventing a fictitious life because, after all, we’re projecting our world into a professional environment. The strategy to follow so as to achieve this is self-knowledge, which will help us to minimize our weaknesses and emphasize our strengths. That’s why it is important to align both the online and offline aspects of our image.
Once we have defined the set of values we want to convey and the goals we want to achieve, it’s time to give the brand a name (it can be our first and last, or any other that helps us to stand out), define the use of keywords related to it and set a coherent communicative tone, as well as a logo, font and colours.
In this scenario, where the days of hard copy resumés are numbered due to their little or no effectiveness or practicality when job seeking, it’s Web 2.0 the one that has become an indispensable tool for the development of personal branding.
For that reason, making the right choice regarding channels and formats where the personal brand will have presence (professional web or blog, social media profiles, cover letter, career sites, job banks…) and the design of a strategic action plan aimed at self-promotion (forums, conventions, workshops or courses) are an absolute must.
Such a wide range of possibilities provides an endless source for networking, opportunities and employment. The most important thing is not to have a lot of connections, though, but quality ones and to be around professionals in tune with your career goals.
In conclusion, personal branding seeks to improve online reputation, but through the perception of others towards yourself. And in these times, that is a fundamental and valuable asset to accomplish professional success.
Sources: GM Integra, Centro de Estudios Financieros, Forbes, University of Salford