Top Tips for Curating an Effective Personal Brand
Melanie Burgess, Careers deputy editor, News Corp Australia Network
November 12, 2020 8:55pm
A strong personal brand can make all the difference to a person’s career, but getting it right is more than a nine-to-five endeavour.
The key is to commit to the brand both inside and outside the workplace, and both in-person and online.
Hender Careers principal consultant Paul Bell says a personal brand is all about telling your story.
“It helps you to promote and communicate your identity and value proposition to your current employer for future opportunities or to a future employer for making a transition,” he says.
“It’s always been important but it has become even more important due to the increase in competition due to COVID and also since the digital revolution, as having a strong online brand is important as well.”
It is important to project the right brand when online and face-to-face. Picture: iStock
Taurus Marketing founder and chief executive Sharon Williams says people shape their personal brand 24/7, whether they realise it or not.
“You influence (your brand) whether you walk down the street and smile at someone or you walk down the street and ignore people,” she says.
“Either way, you come out having made an impact and influenced others about who you are.”
Bell, Williams and GoDaddy director of marketing Suzanne Mitchell share their advice for curating a strong personal brand face-to-face and online.
Bell says the first step in establishing a personal brand is to discover your identity.
“That can be done through talking to colleagues or organisations like ours – career transition providers,” he says.
“They need to ask themselves: What are their motivators and differentiators?
“What can they bring to the table that other people can’t? What are their achievements?
“They need to determine their future and their road map and where they want to get to.”
PERFECT YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH
When networking face-to-face, Bell says it is important to have a strong “elevator pitch”.
“This takes a bit of practice for some people,” he says.
“It’s a 30 to 60-second story about who you are.
“It needs to be short and concise, and can include talking about what you are currently doing, what you look to do in the future and what your strengths are.”
Taurus Marketing’s Sharon Williams says people must be aware of their brand 24/7. Picture: Supplied
MAKE PEOPLE FEEL POSITIVE
Williams says it is important to make a good impression with the way you dress and speak to people.
“It is very much about how you make people feel,” she says.
“Do you ignore people or make them feel important? Do you give off a feeling of inspiration or intimidation?
“We all know those people who sparkle, so a simple tip may be just to smile more.”
THINK BEFORE YOU POST ONLINE
Do not share anything on social media that is not in line with your personal brand.
That is the key message from Williams, who runs personal branding service Taurus Profile to help individuals manage their social media presence.
“We have so many examples of online actions that have destroyed careers,” she says.
“I teach people that you want a post on social media as though you have a local policeman, your future mother or father-in-law, the guy or girl of your dreams and your future employer on your shoulder as you type.”
On LinkedIn, she recommends using a warm, inviting and professional profile picture, and ensuring information is updated to best reflect who you are.
Hender Careers’ Paul Bell says a good personal brand is vital in a competitive job market.
CREATE YOUR OWN WEBSITE
Mitchell says people can also make their personal brand stand out by having a personalised website and email address.
“They can get personalised domain names ending in .com.au or be hyper local with .syd or .melb,” she says.
“Then we recommend aligning that domain name with an email address so when corresponding in their network it links to that domain name for a slick personal brand.
“(On the website,) they can showcase their work in a modern and innovative way, and include referrals from past employers, and it’s a nice one-stop shop for the person to drive anyone interested in them as a potential employee.”
Mitchell says websites are particularly powerful when showcasing visual work, such as for a photographer or a builder.
Use a professional head shot on your LinkedIn profile – not a selfie.
BOOST YOUR PERSONAL BRAND WITH GOOD LINKEDIN ETIQUETTE
Add a message when you request a connection
Welcome a new connection when they accept your request
Keep posts professional – it is different to Facebook or Instagram
Have a professional head shot
Engage with connections to nurture the relationship
Introduce connections to each other
Don’t spam your connections or send irrelevant messages
Don’t start a conversation with “I see you viewed my profile …”
Don’t lock down your profile to private
Don’t ask new connections for endorsements or recommendations
Don’t post critical or negative content