Have you ever felt like your luck has run out? Like everyone else seems to catch a career break, but you’re still sat there waiting for your lucky day to come? It’s very possible that all those people who have been offered great career opportunities might have something in common: a strong personal brand.
If you work in the Retail, Consumer and Services sectors, you’ll likely already be familiar with branding but you might be unaware of the fact that you have your own brand and it can have a huge impact on your career. A positive personal brand can position you as an expert in your industry and open doors to opportunities that have otherwise passed you by. Of course, building a strong personal brand is no walk in the park but there are several things you can do right now to stand out from the crowd. Read on, this guide we have developed will help.
Be Aware of Your Existing Brand
When building a strong brand, it’s important to ensure everything that is publicly available about you is up-to-date. Google yourself to find out what already exists about you online. If nothing comes up or too many people have the same name as you, try including keywords like the city you live in. Whilst an old company biography or decade-old Myspace account might provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane, they can also show an irrelevant version of you to potential employers. In any case, you can update or remove old content but if there is a rare occasion that something negative shows up, you can try request for it to be taken down.
When employers look you up online, they’re not looking to dig up negatives about you but in fact, trying to build a more thorough picture. We often hear of times when employers are influenced to hire someone based on their online activity. So, if you’re not coming up in Google search results then this can actually be an issue.
Building a Positive Brand
The purpose of a strong personal brand is to get you seen by the right employers and build a reputation as an industry expert. Building a brand from scratch however, can be an overwhelming task. To avoid overextending yourself, focus on building a foundation with one or two networks. LinkedIn, is becoming more widely used across all levels of retail, so we highly recommend that you start here. Getting your LinkedIn profile to All-Star status makes you up to 27 times more likely to be found, so this is a great first milestone. To reach All-Star status, your profile will need to include:
- Your current position
- Your education
- The industry you work in
- A professional photo
- At least 5 core skills
- Your location
The above steps will help you reach All-Star status but if you really want to stand out from the crowd, we recommend that you also include:
- Industry keywords in your headline such as "Category Manager" or "Speciality Retailer"
- A background image related to your field
- A brief summary of your background and why you’re passionate about what you do
- Recent and relevant recommendations that add credibility (Ask permission before requesting to add any recommendations you receive via email or phone)
Of course, there are other networks you can use to build a strong personal brand, such as Twitter and Instagram, but it’s a great idea to get familiar with personal branding on LinkedIn first. However, if you are ready to take your brand to the next step, check out these guides for building a memorable personal brand on Twitter and Instagram to get started. In any case, once you’ve selected a platform to build your personal brand on, the next step is to contribute to your industry to build a credible reputation.
Actively contributing to your industry is the key to improving your visibility and credibility in the market. Show off your passion for your sector and follow industry influencers, and like, comment and share posts to get involved in conversations. The best results always come from having an opinion that’s backed up by fact and don’t forget to talk about the fantastic work you’ve done or working on too (if you can, of course).
To keep building your network and brand, take your networking offline and attend industry conferences and events. At these events, join in with discussions, get to know like-minded people, and connect with anyone you interact with on LinkedIn to expand your professional connections. If you decided to jump on the Twitter or Instagram bandwagon, look out for official hashtags to join in with the event’s digital networking. Also, if you ever have the chance to share your expertise at industry conferences or events, either by presenting a conference session, or facilitating a table-top discussion, take it!
The next step in building a strong personal brand is to use your opinion to create a credible voice. Actively blogging is a fantastic way to interact with your network and position yourself as an expert or through-leader in your industry. We could dedicate a whole article to a guide on blogging (and we might do later) but for now, we’ll skim over the basics:
- Blog about topics and trends that are relevant to your audience
- Only talk about things you are credible to discuss and have an opinion
- Include useful titbits for your readers to take away
- Write like a real person! But also use correct spelling and grammar
- Avoid referencing competitors or defaming others
Whenever you publish a blog, make sure you leverage your personal brand and share it across your social media networks to get it seen by as many people as possible.
As a subject matter expert, you can take your brand one step further by contributing content for recognised industry bodies and their publications. For example, Inside Retail Australia, Power Retail or Australian Retailer are great publications you can approach.
Building a strong personal brand is not a quick process, but it is worth the time. As a go-to talent solutions provider with a powerful brand across the retail sector, we represent some of the most renowned brands throughout the country – so we know a thing or two about what it takes to build a strong one. We also have some of the hottest Retail jobs throughout Australia, so if you’d like more advice on personal branding or to find out how People Equity can help take your career to new heights, get in touch with us today.