By Chika Uwazie
Having a personal brand is no longer exclusive to those that own a company or write for a publication. With the power of social media, everyone can now have a personal brand. An online presence is not limited to personal use but can also be a powerful tool for jobseekers and those that like to network.
A personal brand is not just your title at work but is a holistic view of your passion, goals, and vision. If someone mentions your name, what will be the first thing that comes to mind? Do people see you as a thought leader in your industry? Do you have an impact in my community? These are the questions we must ask ourselves as we create a personal brand.
Not only is a personal brand important to have to ensure success, but also with tough competition for jobs it makes you stand out from the rest. Many HR professionals now conduct a Google search on prospective candidates that apply for a job. If someone did a Google search on you today would your be happy with the information out there linked to your name? Even worse is there any information out there about you?
If you are ready to take your success to the next level, here are some tools to create your own personal brand.
Think about who you are as a person and where do you want to be. What are your strengths, what makes you unique? This is the time period to dig deep and follow your passions. This is the time for self-discovery. Write down your goals and create a vision, and a mission statement which simply encompasses what you do and who you serve. An example is, “I am a human resource professional that help young Nigerian graduates with career advice and job seeking techniques.”
To identify yourself, seek feedback from coworkers, family and friends. Share with them your vision and ask them for feedback on your path. These are people that know you best and will be able to help formalize your personal brand that you want to share with the rest of the world.
Create Your Personal Brand Tool Kit
Take time to put together a personal brand tool kit. This will include a resume, cover letter, business card, and a social media presence. Always have a business card on you even if you are a student. You never know when you will meet someone that can change your life. Do you want to meet that person and have no type of personal contact information on you? Create a resume template that you can use for jobs that you are applying to, but keep in mind each resume should be customized for each job you are applying for. Take it up a level and create an online resume as well. This resume will show up on your Google search and will give people a glance into your professional experience.
All of your social media websites should be an extension of your personal brand. Each profile should have the same picture. That is, a clear picture of you and not other frivolous objects in the background. Most people are going to go to your social media websites to learn more about you, so take the time to write a short biography that can be on each profile that is consistent with your brand.
With over 160 million people on this network, it is a critical social media profile for personal branding. Stand out from other FB users and use your profile as a space to share intriguing statuses that ignite discussions. Create groups where other professionals in your area can connect and form long lasting relationship. Start a fanpage, which can link back to your blog or business. Make sure to fill out your work information in order for people to see your credentials.
Twitter is a great place to share news about your industry to millions of users. You will be surprised the value you create when you share information unique to your profession. There are many ways to brand yourself on twitter by starting a weekly chat discussion with other users, or being a place where people come to catch up on the latest trends in your field.
Create your own personal website that either can be a yourname.com website or your own blog that shares your personal thoughts. A few years from now everyone will have a blog, you might as well get a head start and create your own. This will be a tremendous boost to your expertise and experience in your field, and in the long run will help you stand out from the rest of the pack.
Lastly, treat Linkedin as your best friend. I have seen too many Africans not believe in the power of Linkedin. It is a great place to learn from leaders in your industry and even find mentors. Linkedin is a place to emerge as a thought leader by either contributing great dialogue to group discussions or setting up your own Linkedin group. Believe it or not many African recruiters are on Linkedin looking to fill the position they have on hand. It doesn’t get any easier to have direct access to these recruiters instead of submitting a resume to a company’s website. Make sure to fill out all of your information on your profile. Always include a picture. It is easier to accept a request where you can identify the person versus not being able to figure out who sent the request. Take at least 30 minutes per week to update your profile and do not forget to update your status.
All of these tools will be essential to creating a personal brand. Creating a personal brand is instrumental to your future because it represents your reputation, your size and strength of your network. Personal branding ultimately gives you a unique value to contribute to your company and clients. What is your personal brand? What actions have you taken to ensure your own brand?
Image via cybervally.com