Unless you have a talent or skill unique only to you, one that no one else possesses, then you are competing for every opportunity with thousands of other people that are equally if not more skilled and qualified than you.
Think of career branding as your career reputation as well as your unique promise of value. So, essentially all professionally active individuals need career branding. It will come in very handy when job hunting or seeking career advancement.
If you are going to stand out and successfully build your career, you need to build a brand that is aligned to where you want to go. Building your brand is a non-ending journey as your brand will consistently grow as you do.
To help we have created a 5-step guide to help you to build a strong career.
Step 1: Self-assessment
- The purpose of a self–assessment is to help you know the extent of your abilities so you can identify areas of improvement without the need for a performance appraiser. It involves the evaluation of your particular blend of education, experiences, values, needs and goals. It provides the foundation for career planning and the entire job search process.
- A self-assessment also helps you understand how a variety of personal attributes like values, preferences, motivations, aptitudes and skills, impact your potential success and satisfaction with different work environments.
- This is an opportunity to self-reflect and critique your performance, abilities and behaviour.
Step 2: Your Value Proposition
This part will be easy following your self-assessment.
- A value proposition is a statement that answers the ‘why’ someone should do business with you or offer you a job. The statement concisely explains what makes you a unique candidate and how you will add value to a company.
- It should convince a person or an organisation that you provide more value to them than your peers or competitors.
- Your value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage; it is meant to articulate why you are a candidate of choice; it should distinguish you from the competition.
Step 3: Getting your CV Ready
A CV is not just a document you send out in hopes of getting invited for an interview. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing yourself, so care needs to go into putting it together! You need to sell your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to prospective employers. It conveys your personal details and should be done in the way that presents you in the best possible light.
How you design your CV demonstrates the type of person you are and showcases your level of professionalism. At a glance, your CV has to attract the hiring manager or recruiter and gain their interest to actually pay attention to every detail of your CV. Make good use of the page space, font and graphics.
Your CV content should reflect a professional tone throughout the document and convey a message about your competency level, do not neglect grammar and spelling. How you articulate yourself speaks volumes about you and the type of candidate you are.
An ideal CV is two pages long, if you struggle to summarise your key competencies and relevant accomplishments in two pages, then a four-page CV is the recommended maximum.
A clean and professional CV design goes a long way in differentiating you from other applicants. It shows you take your career seriously and put care and thought into what you do.
When writing your CV, keep ATS in mind because it might very well be your first gatekeeper. If you know the role requirements for the job you are applying for, then you are better equipped to understand what proficiencies to focus on. This may mean tailoring your CV for each of the different roles you apply for.
Step 4: Online Presence
When it comes to our online presence we need to tread lightly, to quote Brad Paisley “the internet is forever”. Here are a few guidelines, unfortunately, we can’t cover all potential mistakes to avoid so, follow your own discretion when you are active online.
Google “Search Engines”:
Search engines are used a lot by people for research purposes including doing some background checks on potential candidates. Therefore, it is important to be ahead of people and fix how the results are displayed. Firstly, you need to make sure that you appear in the results when your name is searched online, in today’s social game it is important to have professional digital footprint, and this can be achieved by creating an online social profile, writing a blog or commenting on career-related blogs of your interest, to mention a few. Secondly, you must clean the content on your profiles and highlight the key career-based attributes that will impress those vetting you online.
Many people use Facebook to research and vet a candidate to see how they are in their personal and non-professional space. To prevent people from seeing what should only be seen by friends and family, start to use your account settings accordingly. You can prevent people who are not linked with you from seeing some of your personal posts and only allow them to see only what you want.
At this point, we are all fairly aware of how critical it is to have a good LinkedIn profile in order to have access to great career opportunities. However, as a professional social networking platform, lines may be blurry on what is acceptable online behaviour and what is considered crossing the line.Your LinkedIn headline summary is a prime real estate and should be used wisely. The mistake people make is putting things like “seeking new opportunities” or “unemployed” on their headline. Well guess what, no employer or recruiter is going on LinkedIn looking for unemployed people, they search by role/title, and key skills and if this is not covered in your headline or summary forget about showing up for opportunities that you possibly qualify for.
Step 5: Career & Self Development
Career development involves sharpening current skills, training on new skills, and moving to higher job responsibilities.
How to develop professionally:
Take on short courses regularly to keep up with new developments in your area of expertise. Online courses are affordable and convenient. Check out places like Udemy.
Update your LinkedIn profile and regularly post relevant content. Connect with industry leaders and subject matter experts.
In addition to skills and knowledge transfer, mentorship provides professional and personal support and facilitates success.
Be consistent and always deliver on your promises. A solid reputation is very rewarding on a personal and professional level.
It may seem like a great idea to go on social media and have your voice heard on issues that are getting under your skin, just remember to be careful, negative actions such as smearing people or companies online says a lot about you and your conflict management skills. This is a huge turn off for potential employers as they are only interested in hiring or doing business with mature professionals that know how to resolve matters amicably.
Tips on protecting your brand
- Think carefully before posting anything online, what may look like harmless fun could end up tainting your career brand in the long run. Reserve certain things for your immediate circle.
- Tread lightly when publicly commenting on controversial issues, just because you feel strongly about a subject does not mean you have to shout your views from the rooftops. Do make a stand when necessary but do so keeping in mind that your opinion is exactly that.
- Have strict privacy settings on social media.
- Manage your social media rules well, example make sure your Facebook settings requires your approval for every post or picture you are tagged in before it is publicised on your wall.
- How you treat others affects your brand, keep your temper in check and remain courteous.
- Always look and smell good remember the 5 senses all come in play and counts towards how people experience you and the impression you leave.
- Be on time. Tardiness does not only show disregard for other’s time, but it also doesn’t show you in the best light. There are instances where this may be out of your control in which case, notify the relevant parties as soon as you can and offer an apology.