With competition for roles within the care and education sectors increasingly high, knowing how to position yourself as the candidate-of-choice in the eyes of recruiters takes more than simply having a strong CV.
Today’s savvy job seekers – regardless of level of seniority – are quickly realising the importance of cultivating what marketers call their ‘personal brand’ – the way in which people perceive you and regard your career achievements to date. So how do you go about doing this in a way that maximises your chances of job success?
Here are five key ways to build a personal brand that get’s the attention of the recruiters that you want to reach most.
- Start thinking of yourself as a brand
What do you want people, clients and colleagues to think of you when they hear your name? Are you looking to be considered an expert in your field or associated with certain skills and qualities, such as being someone who gets things done and achieves positive outcomes in challenging conditions?
Your personal brand needs to be a reflection of your true self. So consider what is most important to you when it comes to your career, what your strengths and weaknesses are and the qualities that you want to be most associated with.
Once you have an understanding of the way in which you want to be regarded you can then begin to work at promoting your brand to the right people, in the right way and at the right time.
- Check out your digital footprint
It is estimated that 92% (source: AVG) of infants under the age of two years old already have a digital footprint – imagine what may be on the internet for someone with five, 10 or more years of work experience?
Google yourself and ensure you know precisely what is being said about you online. Are you easy to find on search engines or do you have a fairly common name that leaves you languishing several pages back from the first results page, such as John Smith? If that is the case then consider using a middle name or initial à la our American cousins, such as John Andrew Smith or John AP Smith.
Your name is your intellectual property, so make sure that you are ‘discoverable’ online and that you keep track of what is being said about you by setting up Google alerts.
- Get yourself ‘out there’
There are innumerable opportunities to raise your personal brand online, not least via social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter and through blogging. Social media is a key tool in the search box for recruiters as it helps them to see who are the key influencers and players in a particular sector.
Regularly posting and sharing content that is valuable and interesting to those within your sector via your social media profiles enables you to take control of your digital footprint. It also helps you to raise your profile as someone who has a finger on the pulse of what is happening in your specific field. This in turn can increase your status as a candidate of choice for any key assignments a recruiter may be working on right now.
- Add value to the conversation
Thought leadership content is most effective when it address the needs of the audience you are engaging with and adds value – what do you have to say that can provide a solution to a common problem. Do you have a unique perspective on a topical news story affecting your sector, for example?
There are a number of excellent self-build websites that are easy to use and relatively inexpensive (and simple too!) to set up. So you could create your own site and blog page where you can host your own thought leadership articles and other content.
But there are other options open to you, such as LinkedIn’s own publishing platform. This provides you with the opportunity to upload your blog posts under your own LinkedIn profile where that will the be shared among your existing connections.
- Network, network, network
In order to publicise your brand, you will need to relevant attend events and engage with key ‘influencers’ via social media – influencers such as colleagues (past and present), key sector groups and recruitment firms who specialise in the type of roles that you are looking for next in your career.
At the end of the day, if you have setup a profile that accurately illustrates your skills and experience, then you are in a good position. But just as much effort needs to be put into networking afterwards in order to really make an impression.
Building up your personal brand is not easy, but once you have done it and connected to people in the same field, you should reap the rewards. Nevertheless, like in any area of life, success never comes overnight – it takes hard work, effort and fine-tuning.