Have you ever been told “I googled you” while recruiting a candidate? If you google yourself right now, what type of results will pop up? Will it be random people who coincidentally share your name or will it be a detailed description of your professional persona? If the latter is what you’re hoping to see, then you’ll have to work on your personal branding.
Personal branding is the way you present yourself to the world. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone hears your name, and working on it can help you get ahead in your field as a thought leader. In short, it’s a way of establishing your reputation.
But is it really necessary? Depending on your occupation, and the career goals you have for yourself, yes. Nobody wants to be a nobody at their job. According to Forbes, good personal branding is a way to reinforce your professional value and the value of your company. Even if you’re not famous or vying for high praise and recognition, lacking a pronounced personal brand could be holding you back from your desired career path.
When it comes to recruitment, potential candidates and clients will probably look you up to verify your identity since you are working with sensitive information and relied upon for their growth. Solid personal branding will allow you to build trust and seal the deal when it comes to taking on clients and making placements. On the flip side, if you use misleading, unflattering, and outdated images, you can inadvertently have the opposite impact. For instance, going to Cancun is fun, but pictures at the poolside bar are not the best professional look you have, even if you want to be the fun one at the office.
“The picture that you’re putting on [LinkedIn] has to represent you and the company.”Jennifer Thompson, Director of Insurance Division at gpac
Taking control of your personal brand at work will help you get your name out there and be known in a way that best suits your professional goals. With social media, you don’t have to become a full-fledged influencer overnight. Strategically using every tool at your disposal to build up your reputation as someone who’s knowledgeable and worth listening to is how you become a thought leader.
The good thing is, you can develop thought leadership at any stage of your recruiting career. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already established within your industries, you can always branch out and find your target audience. Build trust among your audience, and you will become the reference point companies and candidates think of when they have a need to search through the job market.
A critical key to building your personal brand? Director of Insurance Division at gpac, Jennifer Thompson, says it’s consistency. Use professional pictures across all social media platforms, as well as the same name and professional title throughout your profiles. Allowing clients, candidates, and peers to easily recognize you helps strengthen a positive impression and reputation with them.
All great brands start with a good story. Storytelling is how you can establish a difference between competitors thanks to the power of brand personality.
In personal branding, you are the business owner and the brand. That means being mindful of the story you share, and how the things you say or do may be perceived by a wide range of audiences. Inject a bit of your personality whenever you can so that people will remember you. This means writing engaging job openings, emails and SMS, presentations, and even writing blog posts and opinion pieces to get your audience familiar with your style and personality.
It all comes down to the story you’re telling about your career and goals.
It’s fine if you feel a little silly at first, or if you feel like you’re shouting to the void. That’s how everyone starts until people start paying attention. It takes time to build an online presence, but you should do it in steps to slowly increase your social capital. If you play your cards right, people will take notice and ask for your opinion on things they need help with, or you might even get asked for a collaboration piece for some publication.
Social media is not just for getting famous quickly, and content strategy is not just for big accounts. Anyone can become a top influencer in their field if they have a clear image of who their audience is and a plan on how to reach them.
A content strategy can be summarized as the intention behind each post. Maybe you want to bring awareness to people about your services, or you want them to convert from knowing about you to actually contacting you and inquiring about what you can provide. It’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve so that you can map out how to move forward.
“If there’s somebody you look up to within your company or even in another company, go to their LinkedIn. What are they doing? The things you like, maybe the things you don’t like, and just take note of those things.”Lori Bierschbach, Senior Search Consultant at gpac
Now that this social media secret is out, do some exploring to find the thought influencers in your field. These people can be from your own company or even those outside of your circle that you admire. Look for both the positive and negative, as gpac senior search consultant Lori Bierschbach says. What are they talking about, what kind of verbiage do they use, and what are their patterns and strategy? This experiment will allow you to define your own narrative, and help you better frame what you want to talk about–little by little you’ll begin shaping your persona and mannerisms.
Taking your time to strengthen your online presence will help you expand and bring value to your network.
If you’re recruiting, maybe the first thing that comes to mind is how to find candidates and clients. Though this is a main task for professionals in the recruitment industry, you should also be thinking about how you’re found and perceived by job-seekers, hiring-managers, and even your peers. Recruiting teams are not unheard of, especially when it comes to keeping each other on track and pushing each other to find the perfect match. After all, two heads are said to be better than one.
Take any opportunity you can to meet your coworkers either in-person or at virtual networking events. Ask insightful questions during meetings, and keep up to date with what’s going on in your field. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to people who are doing well and asking for help or advice. This is all part of professional branding, just having the courage and charisma to talk to people, and having them think of you and what you have to offer when they have an opportunity in hand.
All in all, putting yourself out there is the best way to get people to know. Take control of your narrative by creating the professional persona you would like people to know you as, instead of letting others decide for you.
These gpac recruiters aren’t the only ones with expert advice! Bring your recruitment skills to a team that’ll help you maximize your efforts.
Contributed by Ana Martinez
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