Personal branding and your job search
Personal branding - we’re not talking about the trainers you wear or the handbag you carry; we’re talking about the brand you’re presenting to potential employers. Whether you’re actively looking for your next engineering vacancy or open to passive opportunities, your personal brand is crucial to your career - and we’re about to discover yours.
What is personal branding?
Your personal brand is the image that you present to others - whether that’s in person, on paper, by word of mouth, or online - and includes your personality, skills and values. Personal branding is how you create and promote that image to others.
The importance of personal branding
As already mentioned, personal branding is crucial to your engineering career. Why?
It influences how people see you - allowing people to discover the person beyond the CV.
It sets you apart from your competition - making you more human and likeable.
It markets your best qualities - including skills, personality and values.
It gets you noticed - because you’re more than just a list of qualifications.
Ultimately, your personal branding helps to connect you with the companies and engineering employment opportunities that complement your personal and professional goals.
Creating your personal brand
So, how do you go about creating your personal brand? Well, forget the logo designs and colour schemes; personal branding is more about discovering who you are and using existing channels to promote it. Let’s take a look.
Discovering your personal brand is a balance of identifying who you are and aligning that with how you want people to see you. Start by writing a list of your key qualities including:
- Your specialisms - what you’re really good at;
- Your unique selling point - why you’re better than other candidates;
- Your values - what are you passionate about;
- Your personality - what you’re like as a person; and
- Your personal and professional goals - what you want to achieve.
This can be quite hard to do so, if you’re struggling, ask a close friend or family member to help.
Once you have your list, highlight the qualities that you want people to notice about you. It’s important that you’re comfortable with the brand you’re creating - for example, if you’re branding yourself as a confident engineer who is going to win loads of projects, but actually, you’re quite introverted and better at delivering projects - then your branding isn’t going to bring you happiness.
Once you’re happy with the list of qualities that you want to promote, it’s a good idea to sense check it against your existing personal brand. This means auditing the following information sources to ensure that it accurately reflects your personal brand - removing any conflicting content:
- Social media profiles;
- Your CV; and
Now it’s time to promote your brand in the places that matter. Specifically, you want to:
Tailor your LinkedIn and CV summary
Your LinkedIn and CV summaries are the perfect paragraphs to summarise your personal brand and draw hiring managers in. Write an engaging summary of your skills, values and personality, being sure to keep inside the visibility character count.
Attend networking events
It’s much easier to promote your personal brand in person, which is why we recommend all job seekers to attend local networking events and meetups. Networking gives you an opportunity to meet new people, showcase your personality and make friendly connections that may pay off in the future.
Play to your strengths
The best thing about discovering your personal brand is that it can lead to new ways to promote yourself. For example, if your standout traits are humour and written communication, you could start a humorous industry-related blog. If you’re really outgoing and love the limelight, you might want to begin a YouTube channel to share your knowledge, or set up your own networking event. If you work really well 1:1 and enjoy helping people learn, you could volunteer to help children learn to code. The opportunities are endless.
Keep it consistent
Whenever and wherever you’re promoting your personal brand, it’s vital to keep it consistent, which takes us back to the beginning - truly discovering your brand. And, this applies at all stages during your recruitment journey, from writing your CV and tailoring your LinkedIn to attending an interview and starting a new role.
And finally, the most crucial part of creating your personal brand: have fun. Your personal brand is there to inject personality into the recruitment process - so have fun with it.