Many people miss the importance of creating, and being aware of, a personal brand image. However, it allows you to more fully understand exactly, and in simple terms, what it is about you that could be attractive to an employer. Developing this brand requires self-examination and research, not only of your own perceived attributes, but how they meet the needs of others.
Brand imaging can have a major effect on why people will be attracted to certain things, and why they are sometimes even prepared to pay more for a product - simply because of its brand. The phrase “Well, it’s a trusted brand..” usually refers to something that, general experience has shown, is seen as being both efficient and reliable. A product we can depend on.
However, being aware of, and actually promoting, your own personal brand (‘Brand Me’) is just as important if you want to make a strong impact with a potential employer. You have to think in terms of you as a product and them as the customer and so make yourself attractive to them because of the ‘features and benefits’ you can offer. You need to start by identifying your specific skills and establishing which of these are most relevant or appropriate within that organisation’s operation. So you’re now beginning to develop a recognisable brand and one which may well be ‘unique’ in the eyes of others.
Of course one of the obvious ways to do this is to create a comprehensive profile on LinkedIn – which can, in effect, be your personal website. These days, employers will often refer to your LinkedIn page even before they look at your CV because they believe they get a more ‘rounded’ view of you as an individual; and here lies the opportunity, the opportunity to sell yourself – or your brand image – much more effectively. The principal information it provides can include: a main profile (which explains not only who you are, but what you’re good at); your experience and abilities; projects; role endorsements; and, crucially, personal recommendations from colleagues or managers. All of these combine to create a ‘brochure’ of you, offering the reader a picture of you - and some testimonials to back it up.
And this information (about you) can also be drawn from other people, through networking; doing market research on yourself. This allows you to create a picture in your mind as to what, exactly, this product is, its main features and benefits and you can now work on developing an ‘elevator pitch’ in which you describe, in 30 seconds, who you are and what is good about you. This is your own, personal brand image.
Employers tend to think about the challenges they have in their business and you want to find a way to provide value by solving those problems.
- Personal branding is knowing what you can do, what you are good at and what you like to do.
- Knowing what your potential employer needs, what they really care about.
- Align these two and tell them how your brand can help them.
- A brand image: why do you need one?
- How do you develop it for yourself?