There has been a lot of talk about personal branding recently, partly in reaction to the unsettled economic position we find ourselves facing after the pandemic disruption of 2020. It would be fairly easy to dismiss this as a cynical attempt to prey on the fears of employees ravaged by the chaos. But that would be a mistake. The blunt truth is that by paying attention to your personal brand and making sure that it is strong and clear, you will be putting yourself ahead of the competition and giving yourself a firm leg-up on the career ladder.
There are two reasons for this. The first is the far more competitive environment in which we find ourselves. The economy is shrinking and whilst forecasts vary as to how quickly we will recover, there is no doubt that we will continue to be in murky waters for a good time to come. The upshot of this is of course, that there are fewer job opportunities and therefore more candidates for each job. If you want to be one of the lucky ones, that means you must stand out and make sure that you are noticed for all the right reasons. It’s about giving yourself every possibility of landing the role you want.
The other main reason is the rise of social media. Not so long ago job candidates applied for jobs via a CV and hand-written covering letter. Of course if you knew someone in the business or had conducted some freelance work or been a volunteer or an intern, you probably heard about the post earlier and may arguably have had a better chance of getting an interview but the focus was on your CV. Prospective employees worked through them chucking them into the Yes, No or Maybe piles and then drew up shortlists for interview and so the process went.
Today, the process is broader. Less emphasis is placed on your CV alone – it’s still important but prospective employers will take a far more holistic approach in drawing up their interviewee list. They won’t just rely on your CV but will check you out on all your social media postings. This raises the key question is your overall profile good enough?
If you want to make it to the front of the job queue, not only must you make sure that your profile has no nasties, but you must also ensure that it is highly positive. You need your social media profile to give you a glowing recommendation, to shout out above the rest of the noise, "Interview me. I’m the one you need!”.
This is where your personal branding comes in. To achieve this kind of approbation you need to take a strategic approach to your profile – ensuring that you are posting the right type of information in the right way so that you build and enhance your reputation. You can’t leave this to chance.