What is Career Branding? Why is Career Branding essential and something you need? Career Branding Expert Niels Reib, shares the nitty-gritty of career branding and why you need to start building your career brand today if you want to succeed in your career in the future.
So, What Is Career Branding?
I see a lot of people referring to resume’s and cover letters as being career branding, but that’s only about 5% of your brand; some also mention your LinkedIn profile. Those things are all part of your career brand, but there’s so much more to it than just having a nice looking resume and cover letter.
Your career brand is how you’re perceived online. Everything that shows up when someone Google you is YOUR CAREER BRAND. It’s how you come across when you share, like, and comment on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc.
When working with clients, we approach Career Branding as a strategy for attracting like-minded professionals to your network based on the content you create, by focusing on your strongest skills, natural talent, professional interests, and passion. The best way to do that is by taking ownership of your online presence, having a personal website, and building a unique professional knowledge-base.
The website is KEY to your online career brand because it’s the only way you will be in control and own what you share online. You don’t own anything you share or any presence you build, on any Social Media platforms, including LinkedIn. And, you don’t know where the Social Media platforms we know today will be in 5 or 10 years from now.
Suggested reading: LinkedIn Is The Best Place To Build A Career Brand, Right? Wrong!
Don’t leave your career brand up to chance, OWN IT!
Being intentional and authentic about how you present yourself online will help you stand out whenever you apply for a job, and it will help you attract career opportunities based on the content you create around your skills, talent, interests, and passion.
It will help you get jobs where you’ll shine and thrive because hiring professionals will get a much better sense of your personality and the value you bring to the company. It will help make a better match for you and the companies you’ll work for in the future.
Some might think career branding only is for executives and people in management, but in my opinion, that’s simply not true. Everyone, including you, will benefit from taking ownership of your online presence and feeding Google with the things you’re most passionate about professionally.
Why Your Career Brand Is Essential
Today we leave a ton of footprints when we’re online. All these footprints, being things you like👍🏻, share, and comment on, will play an increasingly more significant role as you move ahead in your career. I’d even go as far as to say it will either make or break your future career opportunities if you’re not paying attention to how you act online.
I’ve received emails from professionals that have been so frustrated with their career situation not being able to land the kind of jobs that they would love and aligning with their professional passion.
Whenever I get emails like that, I do what most hiring professionals (93%) would do. I head straight to Google, and there I usually get a pretty solid idea of why those people have a hard time landing a job.
Having an outstanding online presence and career brand will make you stand out from the competition.
Why You Need To Monitor Your Career Brand
Don’t be caught by surprise when going in for interviews.
You always want to make sure you know what will show up if hiring professionals Google your name. If you’ve got a common name, then you want to make sure to help recruiters find you by linking to your online profiles in your resume, just to make sure they don’t mistake your online presence with someone else having the same name.
Sometime back, an email landed in my inbox from a woman who had just been to a job interview. At the meeting, she was confronted with a comment she’s had made a few years earlier on my Danish blog. It caught her by surprise, feeling a bit violated that they had been snooping around Googling her.
When I searched her name, the comment, which wasn’t bad in any way, just questioned the real power of networking, showed up as the second hit on page one, right underneath her LinkedIn profile.
How To Build Your Online Career Brand
Building a successful online career brand isn’t something you do overnight. As mentioned earlier, career branding is a strategy and one you need to implement as part of your career moving forward, which is why it’s essential to do some groundwork laying the foundation of your career brand.
Let’s get to it!
Set Your Career GPS
Before you even think about building your online career brand, you need to figure out where you want to go and what you want to achieve in your career. In other words, you need to create a big picture vision for where you see yourself the day you retire.
Doing this will help keep you on the right path whenever obstacles may appear, because they will, just like the GPS in your car.
You also want to take some time to do self-assessment tests like Myers Bricks and StrengthsFinder (or get the book and get your top 5 strengths for Free). Even though they won’t give you a definite result, they will help you gain clarity on your personal and professional profile.
Part of setting your career GPS is also to create your value proposition and why statement. The reason this is an essential first step is that it will help you communicate your vision, value, and why you do what you much clearer to the World and future employers.
Align Your Online Profiles With Your Career Goals And Ambitions
Google yourself, and when you do, make sure to do a search that hides your private results. This way, you’ll get the Google results recruiters, Headhunters, and other hiring professionals will see when Googling your name.
If you find any negative hits on your name, it could be a comment you made years ago somewhere, then reach out to the website webmasters and have them remove it.
You also want to audit your social media profiles and make sure you align them with the kind of career ambitions you have. Don’t have any pictures of you being drunk or otherwise intoxicated for the world to see on your Instagram or Facebook profile.
You want to audit what kind of profiles you follow and the type of content you’ve liked on platforms like Twitter as well. Remember, everything you do on social media will affect hiring professionals’ decisions whether or not you qualify for just getting a shot at an interview.
Your LinkedIn Presence
LinkedIn is the World’s biggest networking platform for professionals and a must for you to be on.
A lot of people I talk to have their LinkedIn profile but don’t know how to leverage their presence on there. To do that, you need to have an optimized profile if you want to stand out, so recruiters and headhunters can find you.
You should also be active in a few industry-relevant groups, which are a great way to stay on top of what goes on within your industry and a way to connect with new people and grow your network.
Build The Foundation Of Your Career Brand
What is career branding without having a website?
Well, let me tell you.
It’s like building your house on a rented lot.
Doesn’t make sense, does it?
The only way you’ll have ownership of your online presence is by setting up a website. That’s the only way you’ll own the content you create, and it won’t disappear unless you choose to delete it. We don’t know where LinkedIn or any other social media platforms will be in 5 to 10 years from now. So, if you’re serious about your online presence and career brand, then you need to have a personal career website. It will be the most critical asset to your career brand; it will serve you as your online home and professional knowledge-base.
Creating Your Unique Knowledge-base
As mentioned in the beginning, feeding Google with content based on your skills, talents, and professional interests from your website will make you stand out. The cool thing is that over time you’ll build a unique knowledge-base that can help you become a recognized expert in your industry.
Write about the trends in your industry, about books you’re reading, courses you’ve taken, sharing your experiences how you approach sales, leadership, or and anything that is career-minded. Doing this will help any hiring professional get a unique and authentic insight into who you are as a person and how you will be able to create value.
Final Thoughts On Career Branding
Building your career brand is an investment in yourself and your future. Career Branding is an ongoing process and strategy, that, if done authentically, will open doors to opportunities you would never have dreamed of coming to you. It will help you build valuable relationships and position you as a thought leader.
With the uncertainty in today’s competitive job market, having a strong personal career brand is a way for you to secure yourself better and attract the kind of career opportunities that will let you do what you’re most passionate about professionally in the future.
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