What is your personal brand? Tips from a Headhunter

Do you understand the statement?  If you do, then write down your own brand statement.
Marketing Tips
What is it? What do you stand for?  Does every action you take reinforce your brand value?
The answer in most cases will be no, but you need to reflect on the appropriateness of actions. It takes time to build a brand and seconds to damage or destroy it depending on the actions that occur.
Here are the common mistakes to avoid. If you choose not to you should at least recognise the potential consequences.
  • Manners Maketh Man or Woman
If you use Social Media or write a blog, you should assume that headhunters will read your updates and your posts to gain an insight into your personal brand. A Microsoft study in December 2009 found that 79% of hiring managers and job recruiters review online information about job applicants before making a hiring decision. Of those, 70% said that they have rejected candidates based on information that they found online.
Top reasons listed?
  1. Concerns about lifestyle,
  2. Inappropriate comments,
  3. Unsuitable photos and videos.
These are permanent records and whilst they will become stale overtime they may come back to haunt you into the future. You should assume that anything that you put on line could be read by a future employer. Don’t rely on privacy settings – they are anything but foolproof.
We’ve all done it of course but avoid anything illegal (i.e ‘isms – sex, race and age) criticism of a boss, a fellow employee or client, information about an interviewer and so on – it is in your own interest to do so!  Avoid the late night use of forums after a few beers, they can kill your brand.
  • Spamming
Bombarding social media networks with half-done profiles accomplishes nothing except to annoy the exact people you want to impress: prospective employers trying to find out more about on you. It is just like a CV, work on it, save it off line. Go back, edit it until you are satisfied it represents your personal brand to your greatest advantage and only then publish it on line.  Blanketing social media sites is a waste of time and energy choose the ones that will work for you. It is better to do 2 well than 20 badly.
LinkedIn members with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn but this means getting involved and working at the relationships and carefully promoting your personal brand. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the three most popular social networking sites for human resources managers to use for recruiting. For Headhunters LinkedIn is number one.
  • Every brand needs promoting
If nobody knows of your existence success is unlikely.  If nobody knows what you are trying to achieve it could be tricky.
Having established your personal brand and posted it on line you need to polish it from time to time.  Join some related groups – make some sensible comments, show your expertise, but don’t force the situation and avoid doing it when tired or emotionally challenged!
You have a personal brand statement depicting who you are, what you do and what audience you serve, discretely indicate how you can benefit others through the quality of your contributions.  Very often a comment will lead a Headhunter to look at a profile and the ball will start to role.
  • Less is more
Choose connections wisely; only add people you actually know or with whom you’ve done business. It is much more of a quality game than a quantity game. A Headhunter may choose to contact one of your connections to ask about you; make sure that person is someone you know and trust. In today’s world we are all bombarded by auto responders and this is like throwing a grain of sand into the ocean. Personalise the response and include an offer to help them, but mean it and do it if asked. Don’t risk your brand perception.
  • Relationships
Many jobs are never posted. Higher-level jobs are not posted as often as lower-level jobs online.
Personal networking may be needed to uncover these higher-level positions, which may be filled by Headhunters.
It is for you to choose your representative but I’d go for the one with the personal brand that most closely matches the criteria you choose to set. Meanwhile build your brand strengths and avoid careless talk.

 


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