Personal Branding is not just for heroes!

Personal Branding is not just for Heroes
Second Blog from Marc Steward, Careers Consultant for University of Leeds (read his first blog here)

Happy New Year one and all.

These words are somewhat redundant following the sad death of David Bowie (and, let us not forget, many others worldwide in 2016).

Thinking about David Bowie reminded me of all the incarnations he has been through during his career: from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, he was famous for not being pigeonholed and for constantly re-inventing himself and his music. Creative, innovative and entrepreneurial…

…and so to my blog about careers!

Personal branding is no longer just for products. Personal branding is important for people. Born of experience and reflecting reputation and quality, it helps make you stand out, the all-important aim when searching for that dream career.

Branding is vital to career advancement as it defines who you are, how good you are and why you should be recruited. As I mentioned above, it is about creativity, innovation and standing out.

So, where to start? Try “Googling” yourself (I never, ever thought I would write such a thing when I started working as a Careers Consultant 18 years ago…I probably would have been punched in the face!) Now, what appears in the search? Your Facebook page? Instagram? LinkedIn? Are you happy with what you see? More importantly, do you think future recruiters will be happy by what they see? Whether you have had a profile for a while or are an absolute beginner, make sure you do it right.

LinkedIn is the global professional network on which all students should have a presence. Not just a presence, a professional, meaningful, stand-out presence! A badly shot photo, a poorly written profile or a list of job roles randomly displayed could cost you dear. A recent LinkedIn publication based on data provided by just under 4,000 global HR professionals, stated that 64% of them now use social media to hire staff; not just experienced professionals, but interns and graduates. Recruitment through social media is big business, the fashion in selection and recruitment if you will – so it is important to take your personal brand seriously.

Like Bowie (real name David Jones – branding, see?!), your (professional on-line) profile needs to be creative, innovative and ever changing. For business students, this does not have to strike fear into some of you! I mean creative in terms of how you articulate experiences that you have had. Innovative in terms of how you see every experience you have undertaken and link it to what you are interested in. (I once had a student who did not include the fact that she won a bronze medal in the Winter Olympics on her CV because it was not “relevant” to her career goal of being a lawyer. Oh boy, yes it is!!) Finally, you need to keep your profile up-to-date and think about the changes. Make sure you are making strong connections, joining relevant groups and know what is going on in the career areas you are interested in.

David Bowie was always thinking, always making things happen, always standing out and making it impossible for people to ignore him…we can all learn from him.

Marc Steward – LUBS Careers Consultant, January 2016.

University of Leeds Careers Centre | careerweb.leeds.ac.uk

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