There are a lot of professional buzz-words thrown around these days. The frequency with which people are describing themselves on LinkedIn as ‘disruptive’, ‘expert’, ‘mindful’, and so forth, has never been higher.
But there’s one popular term that you really should pay attention to. And that is ‘personal brand’. Just as your personal style in your social life might portray you as being sporty, fashionable, funny, or clever… You have your own unique style in your professional life too.
Before you head into your next job interview, pause to think about what your job search identity is going to be:
How to build a personal brand:
How do you want to represent yourself?
When you first enter the interview room you’ll make a first impression with the people you’re meeting. Do you want them to perceive you as bubbly, bright, confident and entertaining? Or would you rather be seen as calm, collected, polite, and poised? Consider this before you head to your net interview and decide ahead of time how you’ll introduce yourself and conduct yourself as you enter the room. That first moment could have a lasting impression – at the very least, until the end of the recruitment process.
What do you want to be known for?
We all have things that we are proud of in our professional lives. Maybe you won an award, maybe you achieved high results for your previous employer, or maybe you’re most proud of your ability to smoothly fit in with any team. Although all of these are things you can be proud of, choose the one that you most want to have reflect your workplace persona and present that as your ‘star quality’ – that thing that an interviewer will remember you for when reviewing candidates.
What are the things you do best?
This is a little different than choosing one major quality that you want to be remembered for. Coming up with what you do best is all about listing the things you do well on a day-to-day basis. Are you really organised? Do you make sure that you update stakeholders regularly? Are you a whiz at proofing your team’s work? Figure out the little things that you do every day that make you great to work with, and find ways to work them into your job application.
What are your weaknesses?
Be honest here. We all have weaknesses. What are yours? You will almost certainly be asked about this in any job interview – so make sure you’ve thought it through. Have a real answer prepared about something that you could improve on, and share examples of how you’re working to improve in that area. A candidate with a weakness that they’re working might be more desirable to work with than one who claims to have no flaws!
Tips for creating a personal brand:
- Think about what you want to be known for in your professional circles.
- Don’t shy away from your flaws, they provide opportunities for growth.
- What are the things you do day-to-day that make you a valuable team member?
- Take some time to consider what type of first impression you make when you enter an interview.
Your personal brand in action:
Take a piece of paper and answer the questions in the above article in the context of your own job search. What do you want to be known for? What are the things you do best? Writing them down will help you find clarity about your own personal brand and help you to be prepared when presenting yourself at an interview.