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5 Top Tips to Hone Your Personal Brand
Whether you’re looking for a new job or want to maximise the impact of your engagements with people online, it’s a good idea to develop a personal brand. That might sound a bit overwhelming, but chances are you’re already part of the way there.
Your online presence, the things that you send people, and the articles that you contribute online all go towards building up a picture of yourself that others can recognise as part of your character.
Here are a few steps to improve the way you come across online:
1. Google Yourself
If you use Google Chrome, turn on Incognito mode, if you use Internet Explorer, turn on InPrivate browsing, and if you’re using Firefox you’ll want Private Browsing. This will let you view what comes up when a complete stranger searches your name, rather than what Google already thinks it knows you’re looking for. (If you’re called John Smith, you’re safe.)
Look especially at the first three results, then the first page of search results as a whole. If Google wants to link you to irrelevant, unwanted or out-of-date pages, you’ll want to update or delete these pages, wherever you can.
And if you don’t have the admin rights to change these pages, you might want to pen a few articles about your specialist topic and submit to sites like this one in order to bump the irrelevant results off their top spot.
2. Shape Up your Social Profiles
Social media is a big tell for personality for employers and prospective clients, so it’s important that you put across what you’re all about on the channels that are most relevant to your industry..
While some people really go to town optimising their social media profiles for professional engagements, unless you’re working on your LinkedIn profile, that won’t always fall in your favour. Instead, be genuine and show your interests, but be sure that any out-of-date or misleading information isn’t shared.
Also, remember Poe’s law: Without an emoticon or similar blatant show of humour, do not be surprised if people take online comments seriously.
3. Rethink the CV
CVs give a digestible amount of information in a predictable format. However, for these reasons, they’re also easy to ignore. Give your future employer a welcome surprise by getting a designer to mock-up a version of your CV that reflects the values of the company you’re applying to.
For example, if you’re hoping to be a journalist, make your CV look like the publication you want to write for. Or, if you plan to join a big four accountancy firm, put together something more understated using the company’s trademark colours and fonts.
When relevant, this is a sure-fire way to help employers see that you understand their company’s culture and helps them visualise you in the role.
4. Be Bold
Every man and his dog wants to improve their personal brand. Fortunately, there’s enough room on the internet for everyone with compelling story, originality and a strong niche.
Research what others in your space are doing and work on presenting your online materials in line with these three aspects to stand out against the competition. That designer could come in handy again as you develop eye-catching media, such as animations, that showcase your ability and bring your website to life.
It’s important to put the extra effort in, even if it comes with a pricetag.
5. Deliver on All of the Above, In Person
So your digital self has shocked and awed your audience, and you’ve secured an important meeting. How do you ensure that your brand translates in real life?
In case you don’t think you’re a match to the person you’ve represented online, send what you’ve been working on to a close friend. If sits oddly with them or they find it a little try-hard, tweak it to make it more personal to you (or less). It’s not always easy to gauge what your strengths are, and how they can be best broadcasted, so this process may take a little time.
But don’t worry, it’s more important that authenticity runs through what you put together.