Personal Branding Strategy During Your Job Search
Personal branding is one of the hottest professional trends of the past few years. While some people are meticulously crafting their personal brand, others haven’t even begun this process. Find out what a personal brand is and how to monitor it for the most outstanding results!
What is a Personal Brand
Your personal brand is a collection of all the ways you present yourself to the public. Since we are talking about the professional setting, the term ‘public’ in this case refers to your potential employers and customers.
In the past, defining your personal brand was a much easier task: all you had to do is communicate with the right people, have business cards that stand out, and let your work do the talking. Now that everything has moved online, monitoring and maintaining your personal brand is more challenging than ever simply because there are so many details to keep in mind.
Why is a Personal Brand Important
For those who have worked for years or even decades without putting too much thought into their personal branding, the idea of investing time and effort into a personal brand seems excessive. However, modern career consultants agree that no matter which industry you work in, there are at least 5 valuable benefits to maintaining and carefully monitoring your personal brand:
- Having a personal brand gives you the recognition you need to succeed. Whether it’s an overcrowded industry or a niche where you don’t have much competition, increasing your own recognition and visibility online is one of the top reasons to care about your personal brand.
- The presence of a unique personal brand allows you to occupy a niche and leave the competitors behind. If you’ve always wanted to venture into a relatively unknown industry, doing so may be hard if you don’t have a personal brand to go along with your professional aspirations.
- A personal brand adds to your perceived value, making it higher than ever before. When your personal brand follows you everywhere you go, the audience will ascribe you a considerably higher perceived value than to a professional with similar credentials who gives little attention to their personal brand.
- If you want to build and strengthen your personal brand with the goal of attracting customers, it’s actually one of the best business decisions you can ever make. Potential customers who are familiar with your personal brand will turn out to be like-minded individuals with a view on the industry that is similar to yours.
- Through a strong personal brand, you can not only improve your position in the job market or attract more customers. It’s also a great way to build your professional network of contacts and meet fellow professionals from the same industry that can give you some valuable career tips or even become your close acquaintances.
How to Monitor Your Personal Brand
Keeping track of your personal brand is important for one big reason: it allows you to quickly notice any changes in your professional representation and introduce any required changes.
Today there are four major ways to monitor your personal brand online, and here they are.
- Google yourself. Most internet users have Googled themselves at least one in the past, but your job is to turn it into a regular check. Modern professionals should Google themselves at least once a month, but if you are objectively well-known in some industry, it’s better to do a weekly check. When looking at the search results, images, news, and videos that come up with your name, try looking at them through the eyes of your potential audience. Is it what you really want everyone to see or do you want it changed?
- Ask around. As an established professional, you likely have lots of contacts in your industry. One of the most surefire ways to know what is being said and thought about you in the professional world is to simply ask around. If people know how you are perceived by the community, they will gladly tell you.
- Monitor social media. Social media posts containing your name may not always appear on Google search results, so it’s important to visit each of the social media platforms individually and use the search function to look for posts about you. The two primary platforms to check are Facebook and LinkedIn, but YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ are also great places to start.
- Visit your guest posts. Many people write guest posts in an attempt to grow their personal brand, but a much smaller part of them visits their posts to engage in discussions or see what people are saying. If you’ve never been to your guest posts after publishing them, now is a great time to go and see what’s happening there!
A little-known trick is to make your professional name unique enough, so that when people search for you online, there is no chance they can confuse you with someone else. Whether you decide to use your middle name, an abbreviated version of your middle name, a professional-sounding nickname, making the name that is featured in your personal brand unique is very helpful for improving your recognition.
Once you decide to stick with a unique professional name, make sure to change it on your social media profiles, blogs, professional sources, and possibly even update your email address!