Think only financial companies can have a brand that is distinctive? Not so! Each one of us has a personal brand whether we are aware of it or not. Every day, we use our personal brand in our interactions with others, both in person, and online.
Personal branding is an extremely effective way for job seekers to get noticed during their job search, for getting your name out there during business networking, and for getting the attention of hiring managers. But how does one go about developing a good personal brand?
There are many facets to a brand. Our personal brand shows up in what we say about ourselves, how we position our social media profiles, what others say about us, how we dress, headshots be use on social media, and colors we use both in our profiles and our professional dress. Being that the finance and investment fields tend to be more conservative, we do need to be aware of how that plays into the big picture.
What we say about ourselves
What makes you special? How are you different from everyone else? This is the starting point for your personal brand. Branding a company to stand out can include focusing on a tagline. In personal branding a catch phrase can be a good way to distinguish yourself from others.
3 word catch phrase
Think in terms of three words you could use to describe yourself, kind of like a mini personal mission statement or catch phrase. What are the best three words that describe your personality and what you offer to employers?
Example: Driven | Professional | Achiever
Use this catch phrase on your resume and on your LinkedIn profile headline. Then, explain why it applies to you.
Make it a point to develop an elevator speech that is based on how you are different. You’ll be using your elevator pitch during career networking and during job interviews. See this finance job search sample elevator speech template.
I encourage my clients to develop their own personal websites that can showcase their personal brand and about.me is a great, free option for this purpose. About.me allows you to upload a headshot, link to your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts, and create a backstory about you and the position you are seeking.
Social media profiles
Imagine if you will that you are a hiring manager reviewing LinkedIn profiles for a job position. Candidate 1 has an engaging headshot, a detailed profile with a motivational headline, and a strong summary section that talks about their unique strengths. Candidate 2 does not have a headshot, no motivational personal headline, and no summary section. In short, they have put very little effort into their profile. Who would you be most impressed by?
What others say about us
While what we say about ourselves is important, people will often put more stock in what others say about us. That’s why it’s important to utilize LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements. Consider the following ways to leverage what others say about you:
Recommendations and Endorsements on LinkedIn – if you are not limited by compliance, review your connections and ask 3-5 people to write you a recommendation. Endorsements are simple to attract if you make it a point to endorse others in your circle.
Testimonials – there’s nothing wrong with including testimonials on your personal website or on your social media profiles.
Recommendations – letters and notes from former managers, family friends, and those who know us best can be very helpful throughout your job search.
Social media headshots
The best way to create engagement is to include a good headshot on all your social media accounts, yet many people don’t understand what this means. Here are guidelines for a great headshot:
- Engaging smile – your smile should spread from your mouth to your eyes.
- Your smile should be as if you are greeting a favorite friend or family member
- Tell the photographer that you want them to capture your personality and show approachability
- The photographer may have to tell you jokes and funny antidotes to elicit an engaging smile
- Face the camera (don’t turn your body on an angle)
- Head and shoulders should appear in the shot, not your body – you want to capture your “essence” so the shot should be focused on your face and top of shoulders
- Don’t tilt your head, don’t turn sideways
How we dress
You’ve heard the old saying “Dress for your next job”? Well, the style of our apparel, the colors we wear, and our own personal image can have a huge impact on how others see us. In short, you should always dress professionally, but what image do you want to convey in your personal brand? What says “you” more than anything? Is it a style based on one of these? Sophisticated, funky, stylish, academic, or professional? Figure out which style is “yours” and tailor your dress appropriately.
There are many ways to get noticed during your job search. Take advantage of as many personal branding strategies as possible so that you stand out from the crowd, catch the attention of hiring managers, and land your dream job.