The implementation of social media into pretty much every aspect of our personal lives has made it easier than ever for millennials to own their ‘’brand’’.
But how exactly do you establish a personal brand, and do you actually need one?
In my brief but quite intense and still lasting love affair with the recruitment industry, I have learned that clients only want to hire employees who in the short few minutes during a job interview manage to paint the first - rate version not only of who they are, but of who they can become if hired by that particular client. Your personal brand represents a way of letting people and particular employers know what your distinct talents are but most importantly the way you use them and what they can be molded into.
We currently live in a world where information can be interchanged within seconds and is available to everyone, which means so are skills, competences, knowledge and experience. In industries where competition is fierce and everyone is replaceable, whether you belong in the IT sector, or you have found your passion in the business and sales industries or you are trying to make it in the HR field, having a solid personal brand can make your job searches a little more successful and keep your employer coming back for more.
Besides the quality of your work, which it goes without saying, should be oozing with perfection, having a strong personal brand is a way of marketing yourself to others.
The truth of the matter is, in fact every power- hungry millennial job seeker out there already has a personal brand. There is a plethora of information ready and set to anyone who chooses to dive in the salty waters of social media platforms and LinkedIn, so all that is actually required from you is to find a way to be more strategic with that information and learn to control it and become in charge of the narrative that is being told about you.
I’m not saying you should scream it off the roof tops, but letting people know about the work you have done for others is how you play the game. If I could compare it to any social aspect or situation, I would say getting a job is much like playing a “hot and cold game”.
It is important to transmit an image of yourself showing you are in high demand and although you are very interested in the particular opportunity, it is imperative to show that you have options. Why? Simply because people feel more accomplished when conquering a greater challenge.
As a recruiter, when faced with candidates that have displayed the same results on tests or tasks and have similar experience, almost 90% of the time I tend to aim toward shortlisting candidates who during the initial interview lead the conversation by comparing the job role they are being interviewed for with similar project they have done for previous employers and don’t come across like too needy, and are being recruited by one or two other employers. So do not shy away from showing your work on social media, mentioning it at interviews or to your peers, colleagues and managers, and inspire people to join in.
BE EASY TO FIND
If you have a portfolio-based job, make sure you own a corner of the vast dome we call the internet, filled with examples of your best pieces of work but make sure you follow the ‘’quality over quantity’’ rule when displaying it.
OWN THE PRESENT AND STAY CURRENT
Think of your CV as a mirror image of yourself, and the job market as a nightclub on a warm Saturday night in July - you would never try going out (especially knowing how long the waiting line can get and how crowded it will be) without displaying the latest fashion piece you got, or your favorite signature cologne, your best dance moves, or take with you your favorite friends who can always get you in because they ‘’know people’’. Going out unprepared wouldn’t be worth it.
It’s the same when it comes to your CV. Recruiting on a daily basis, I often get tired of looking at the same old CV templates, the same phrases ( you know the classic ‘’goal oriented’’ or ‘’target driven’’ CV lingo) to describe a candidate’s job experience and skills. Make sure your CV template is fresh new and appropriate for the industry you are applying to work in and display the latest projects you have worked. Make sure it is always bang up to date and contains the kind of flow and language that really describes you and the originality that you are recognizable for. Make sure you have listed all the communities, groups, organizations and companies you have been a part of as sometimes other people who are part of them as well can help out as references into getting you the desired job role within a new company, especially if they have built a name for themselves within the certain industry.
Always go the extra mile when getting your CV done - it won’t hurt to remember your best times even when you are not actively looking for a job.
FIND YOUR X FACTOR AND STAND OUT
Try and find your unique selling point. What can you offer, that others dont’t have? Are you a passionate writer in your free time who is climbing the latter in the marketing industry, or enjoy photography? Include it in the CV. Maybe you have excellent knowledge of other languages and can help out with the company’s foreign clients? It never hurts to have that information displayed on your profiles and in your current work place.
Communicating your ‘’X factor’’ can set you apart and sometimes help pay your bills whether it will be by commission, or on a freelancing project or putting you on a fast track to a future promotion.
STICK TO YOUR WANTS AND BELIEFS
Values are the most important because they identify who you are and what your work ethic is like. Do you enjoy working in teams, helping out the community you live in, mentoring others or do you simply color code everything? Find out what motivates you and make sure others notice it, don’t be scared to vocalize your passions, it will make you stand out.
Keep it real. Your personality is the most important part of your brand so above all be authentic to yourself. Your online persona should not be your alter ego, it should be a representation of who you genuinely are in real life. As millennials we can all get caught up in building up our social media platforms in order to survive in the Generation Y jungle, we have created for ourselves. The disparity between your ‘’Facebook or Instagram You’’ and the real life you it’s only going to be a letdown. Don’t let the worry of creating a brand and being relevant distort your focus on what really is important - doing the hard work and being good at what you do.