When we talk about branding, we typically think of businesses and the way they promote themselves and their products. Yet the phrase ‘personal branding’ is increasingly being bandied about. But what is personal branding? And why is it important for our careers?  

With our lives increasingly moving online, many have begun to create a brand around their name and their career. To help you understand this better, we’ve put together a guide to discuss in more detail how to manage your own personal brand online and how this can boost your job search.  

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Personal Branding And Why It’s Important

In much the same way as a business promotes its products, personal branding is the way you market yourself. For the most part, this means that the content you post and any online profiles you may have represent you and your brand.  

How you portray yourself online is the way that your colleagues, potential employers and clients will see you. This is why it’s so important to manage your brand well. When it comes to your career, your online presence is like an additional portfolio for employers who are able to look you up before getting in contact with you. In fact, a recent survey from CV-Library revealed that a third (30.8%) of recruiters admit to ‘stalking’ potential candidates online and two-thirds (69.3%) confirmed that they are influenced by what they find.  

For this reason, you need to be wary about what you post online, as everything you share can influence your personal brand. In the next part, we’ll discuss the top ways you can manage your brand to boost your job search and your career.

Googling Yourself

The survey also found that two-thirds (65.7%) of professionals expect to be ‘Googled’ by potential employers and recruiters. So it’s best to get ahead of the game! To start with, do an internet search of yourself and see what comes up. Remember, anything you can see is visible to recruiters and other professionals too.  

If you find any content you deem to be unprofessional, or that you wouldn’t want an employer to see, it’s probably best to delete it. This is a great way to start cleaning up your personal brand. Remove any old profiles or content that you no longer use, until you’re happy that there’s nothing left that could damage your reputation.

Social media

Once you’ve begun cleaning up your digital footprint, it’s time to sort out your social media profiles. Interestingly, over one in four (29.5%) confess that their social media profiles aren’t set to private. This means that everything they post or share is easily accessible. If you’re worried about what recruiters might find, it’s a good idea to set these to private. That way they can only see your content if they connect with you – so it’s your choice whether or not you accept them.   

But it’s not just about hiding your social media. First of all, you can really build your personal brand by doing great things with your profiles. Perhaps you can follow influencers or big names in your chosen industry. You can also join Facebook groups and Twitter chats with like-minded professionals. What’s more, you can post relevant content or sector news to your profiles. All of which can be great for boosting your knowledge, showing you’re passionate about your career and strengthening your personal brand.

Want to up-level your personal brand? (Or just find out what a personal brand is?) Check out this post!

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PROFESSIONAL NETWORKS

Not dissimilar to your social media accounts, professional profiles such as LinkedIn can be a great way to connect with others in your field and showcase your skills. LinkedIn in particular can act almost like an online CV, allowing you to include a profile, your employment history and your qualifications.  

Again, you need to be careful of the content you’re sharing and how you portray yourself on these platforms. For example, two-thirds (61.2%) of recruiters said that they believe selfies are not acceptable for use on professional profiles such as LinkedIn. So it’s best to stick to a professional image, with a clear background. Selfies or images of you on a night out could be distracting and seen as unprofessional.  

Getting these profiles up to scratch is important. Some employers will even use these as a recruitment tool, meaning they’ll be able to find you and approach you with any opportunities they think you may be suited for. This is your chance to boost your personal brand, particularly when it comes to your career. So take some time to fill out your profile thoroughly and remember this is a chance to sell yourself! 

CONSIDER CONTENT CREATION

You could also consider producing your own content, working to build yourself an online portfolio. Depending on the nature of your career, this could mean different things. It could be that you start your own blog to showcase your writing skills. You may also share your professional photographs, graphic design work, build your own website or start a YouTube channel.  

Whatever it is that you do, it’s great to show that you’re passionate and continuing to pursue this in your free time. These projects are also great additions to your CV, allowing employers to get a better idea of who you are and what you’re capable of. The more creative you are – the better!

always keep working on your personal brand

Your personal brand will grow and develop as your career does. This means you need to update your brand as you go. You might choose to branch out on to new platforms, continue to share great content on social media and join more groups and forums. By continually working on your image online, you’ll always be helping to further your career prospects.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Building a strong personal brand online is the perfect way to boost your career, particularly when you’re actively job hunting. You should always be careful about what you’re posting online. Remember, if you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see it, perhaps you shouldn’t share it! 

Take some time to clean up your digital footprint and make your social media profiles private where necessary. Branding is all about selling yourself, so think carefully about how you can market yourself online to make you even more employable!   

Resume-Library is one of the leading U.S. job boards. For more expert advice on careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.