The first question I’m sure you are asking is,

“Why do I have to bother with my personal brand? Who cares what I have to say or what I do?”

Well, the answer is, quite a few people, especially those looking to hire great people like you. Building your personal brand has become incredibly beneficial for many influencers who now make a living from their content.

However, this article is not trying to advise you on becoming the next Instagram or TikTok sensation but rather to help you differentiate yourself in an incredibly challenging marketplace.

Over 90% of employers said they screened potential employees social media channels and that they were a factor in their hiring decisions. So how can you build a profile that will not only help with potential employers but create some exciting opportunities within your sector?

Finding your niche

The key to building a solid personal brand is deciding who you are and what you want to be known for. It is not to say that you will forever be pigeonholed into one area, and you’ll never be able to break free. However, presumably, you have some skills and areas of interest that others, especially prospective employers, might find interesting.

So spend some time agreeing upon your niche. Write it down if you need to or pull together a SWOT on your current area of interest and where you might like to develop.

Some advice suggests you should try to find a niche within your niche, but this can get a little over-complicated when starting.

You must have some level of knowledge and expertise that will add value to those you communicate with. To build an effective personal brand, you need to agree on an area of the market you hope to own. While you might have always been passionate about renewable energy and would love to work in the sector, it will take you a while to build your profile if you have nothing of value to offer in the short term.

It is also worthwhile thinking about and agreeing on your values. This might seem a little excessive, and I am sure you know what you stand for. However, your personality and the values you live by will be central to your personal brand. As you start to publish content online, you are building a legacy of thoughts and opinions, and it will be worthwhile ensuring you are consistent with your approach.

Personal branding

Identify your community

You will presumably have a reasonably good idea of where your community is, whether online or at events (when we can comfortably go back to them). However, in order to establish yourself within your chosen community, it will help your profile if you spend some time getting a complete picture and building wider networks outwith your core group.

This research will help you uncover topic areas you had previously not thought about and identify influencers you’d not engaged with before.

It will also help you focus on the proper channels. Some leaders in this field have suggested you need to be on every channel possible. However, the only thing worse than not being on a channel is having an account and not keeping it up to date. Suppose you can’t manage the vast array of different channels, keeping them updated with great content. In that case, the best advice is to focus your attention on the key channels and make sure the level of content reflects the personal brand you want to project.

Also, don’t just confine yourself to digital channels. If you want to establish yourself as an influencer within your sector, your research should also identify opportunities within the press and to present at events. Granted, not everyone is a comfortable public speaker, but this is an important channel, and so it is worth developing your skills in this area. There are great people within the sector that can help you with this, including a friend of TalentSpark, Maryanne Johnston.

Develop your skills

Developing the skills upon which you are creating your personal brand is crucial. There will be several people engaging in your sector and lots of experts competing for a share of voice. So it is incumbent on your to keep developing your skills through personal development and building a solid sector knowledge by staying up to date.

Professional development should be a given for any hoping to progress their career or get started within a specific sector. However, for some, it drops off the agenda as other life pressures take over. It doesn’t matter what level you are at; if you want to build a solid personal brand, you need to be at the cutting edge of your sector, which means every day is a school day.

Personal Brand

Consistency is key

Building a prominent personal brand takes time, but it also takes persistence. You can’t publish a blog with your thoughts on a particular topic today and leave it a month before you post again? Nor can your Twitter or Instagram feeds lie dormant for a month while you come up with your next post.

To build recognition amongst the people in your sector, you need to appear regularly and add real value to the day’s topic. It takes work and commitment, but as we mentioned at the start, in a world where competition for work is increasingly challenging, it is crucial to differentiate yourself and establish a foothold in your market.

One of the best ways to do this across social media channels is to develop a content calendar. Spend a bit of time, either at the start of the week or the month and line up some potential topics for your blog or vlog and schedule some social media posts. There are scheduling tools, but most channels allow you to do this within the channel now.

Fail fast and try again

Building a personal brand is not an exact science. It is not easy, and you will make a mistake, and almost certainly, you will fail at some point (we all do). However, the secret is to stick to your values and build on your skills to add real value.

Added value is the key here. You might think there is little benefit in what you have to say, but being objective about the commentary that is already out there might add a perspective that no one else has considered.

Also, having the confidence to put forward your own take on a topic again might stimulate debate amongst the network that’s not been considered. However, don’t be put off when people disagree with you, and they will. Debate is what makes it a network and is how we progress. You will also get some less than savoury responses sometimes. While it’s not pleasant if you are sticking by your principles and are confident in your sector knowledge, then you should be confident with what you say.

Developing a personal brand

It might seem like there is a lot to do, especially to get a job. Perhaps others within your market haven’t had to bother with any personal branding, and they are getting on just fine.

This could be the case for some. However, in an increasingly competitive world where niche skills are critical, developing your brand as a leader in your market could mean the difference between a tap on the shoulder for your perfect job and months of searching and interviews for a job you’re not entirely sold on.

So spend a bit of time on your personal brand, and that next job could be round the corner.