The fundamental concept of corporate branding is well-established. It’s understood that branding is the physical embodiment of a company’s values, and that in many ways it is the brand – not the product – that influences consumer choice.
The notion of personal branding is less established, since it is a by-product of the social media boom of the last decade. Social media gives everyone with a computer and internet access the opportunity to present an idealised image of themselves to a global audience.
So, how important is a personal brand and how can you develop one? Specifically, does a personal brand affect your opportunities in the job market?
Bluegum Resumes spoke with personal branding expert Amanda Selleck about developing a personal brand, and which social media platform to present it on.
A matter of reputation
Amanda is Talent Acquisition Project Manager at Transdev, one of Australasia's leading multi-modal transport operators. Human Resources Director magazine named Amanda a Rising Star of 2018, thanks to her engagement with education institutions 'to build relationships and strengthen Transdev’s employment brand”. Amanda also assists with career and personal branding strategy and believes personal branding is the key to success in the job market.
Although we can craft our personal brand to a great degree, Amanda says it’s also about reputation: some aspects of our brand rely on how colleagues and connections regard us. As she puts it: “I like to tell my clients that a personal brand is how people describe you when you are not in the room.”
The importance of LinkedIn
Amanda says we all add to our personal brand each time we post on social media. These showcasing channels are the most significant development in personal branding since the newspaper opinion column. But there is one online platform Amanda believes is still underutilised.
“The biggest mistake I see is young graduates shying away from engaging on LinkedIn. Often, they feel like they have little to offer. What they really need to be focusing on is standing out from the crowd," she says.
“Getting a graduate job in today’s job market is hard! If I see a graduate on LinkedIn writing articles about university events they have organised or a reflective article about what they learnt at university, I am instantly impressed with their passion and ability to put themselves out there.”
According to Amanda, most professional recruiters are active on LinkedIn, although she says statistics show Facebook is another effective channel for recruiting top talent.
Showcasing your personality
For Amanda, a LinkedIn profile is how you capture the interest of recruiters and show something of your personality, which is not always evident from a dry list of jobs and qualifications.
“Start with an enticing headline,” she says. “Too many people just use their current role as their headline, but people already see this information in your profile. Think about expressing your passion and vision. Here’s a quick example: ‘Civil Engineer’ vs ‘Engineering professional passionate about changing Sydney’s rail infrastructure’.”
In LinkedIn’s ‘Experience’ section, Amanda recommends creating a short summary for each position you’ve held, with dot points outlining major achievements.
Sharing what you really know
When it comes to posting opinion pieces or thought leadership articles, Amanda says people should concentrate on sharing what they know.
“Your personal brand is essentially made up of four factors: your values, expertise, passions and personality," she says. "Start by working out what you have to offer the world – what’s your mission statement?
“The best advice I ever got was that if I find something interesting, you can guarantee there are hundreds of others who will also find it interesting. You really can’t go wrong if you know at least one person in your audience will find value in your ideas and content.”
Having a positive personal brand means employers head-hunt you, making job searching redundant. It’s like inbound marketing for an individual.
“Who wouldn’t want to set themselves up so that their expertise was in-demand and they never had to apply for a job again? This is the power of personal branding and why you should be using this proactive strategy.”
Why video is important in recruitment
Videos convey personality and passions in a way that’s hard to communicate using words only. Amanda says the world is moving heavily towards video content, so having a presence on Instagram could be a game-changer for professionals.
“Videos are absolutely gaining in popularity as a method of assessing candidates. However, this will be highly dependent on the role you are applying for. For entry level roles like graduates, the probability of having to complete a video interview is very high. For a recruiter it is such an effective way to understand a candidate’s culture fit and motivations in a timely manner.”
Amanda advises anyone not familiar with video interviews to research the concept on the web.
“Most importantly, prepare just as you would for a face-to-face interview. There will only be one chance to nail your answers, so make the most of it!”
It seems personal branding is no longer a recreational activity carried out in idle moments on Facebook. It’s a way to create an idealised image of yourself that attracts potential employers and cements your reputation as a valuable member of your profession.
Amanda Selleck Bio:
A masters-qualified HR professional, Amanda has been working in the HR field for almost a decade. Amanda quickly found a love for all things talent management, working in various roles consulting, and supporting top 100 ASX listed companies. Her specialities lie in volume recruitment and innovative talent attraction and recruitment campaigns. Amanda now works as a Talent Acquisition Project Manager at Transdev, a leading transport operator in Australia. In her downtime, she assists professionals with career and personal branding strategy. You can check out her work at amandaselleck.com.