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Building a Personal Brand: Why It Matters in Your Job Search

30 May 2024 |

By Abi Morris

Personal Branding
For over three decades now, VWA Recruitment Consultants have been working closely with candidates to draw out their experiences and identify their individual skills and expertise. When it comes to job searching, competition for roles can be fierce, so it is vital for candidates to find a way of standing out and differentiating themselves from their peers.

Personal Branding is an intentional and strategic process an individual takes to market themselves. You reflect your personal brand in how you choose to communicate with people, offline and online, your social media profiles and your engagement activity on said platforms.

In the context of job searching, standing out in the market can be tricky – right now even more so, where at the start of the year job volume in the UK fell to its lowest in more than three years (Bloomberg). Now in Q2, the market is showing positive signs of an upturn, with the UK now out of recession and improving inflation rates. However, difficulties in job searching are still present.

Every individual has a unique set of skills and experiences that have shaped their background and career to date. As a candidate, you have ultimate autonomy in how you choose to reflect this and build your own UVP (Unique Value Proposition). Tailoring your personal brand to reflect your unique qualities is a powerful tool that can positively impact your job search. Here’s how –

Differentiation: In a saturated market where there are hundreds of candidates applying for a small pool of roles, creating a strong personal brand can set you apart from competition. It highlights your unique skills, experiences, and personality traits that make you a valuable asset to potential employers.

Visibility: A personal brand increases your visibility and presence online and offline. Authentic visibility can attract job opportunities, connections and industries better aligned to who you are as a person and your interests.

Credibility: A consistent personal brand builds credibility and trust with employers and recruiters. It demonstrates your professionalism and reliability – ultimately making you a more attractive candidate.

Networking: A strong personal brand makes it easier to network with industry professionals. It helps you establish meaningful connections and foster relationships with influencers, mentors, and potential employers.

Online presence: Recruiters significantly rely on online platforms to find and communicate with candidates. A strong personal brand ensures that your online presence accurately reflects your skills, achievements, and professional reputation.

Self-awareness: Building a personal brand requires self-reflection and clarity about your goals, values, and strengths. This self-awareness not only helps you articulate your UVP to employers, but also guides your career decisions and trajectory.

So, we now know how important personal branding can be in your job search. But how do you put this into practice? Below are some actionable steps you can take to start your building your personal brand:

Define Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP): Firstly, take some time to identify your core strengths and experiences that set you apart from others. Determine what makes you valuable to employers and how you can solve their problems or fulfil their needs.

Clarify Your Personal Brand Message: Once you’ve taken some time to identify these traits, ensure consistency in your messaging across all platforms, including your CV, LinkedIn profile, and all online and offline communications. Remain true to yourself and your values, as authenticity is key to building trust and credibility with employers and your network.

Identify Your Target Audience: Determine the companies, industries, and roles you are particularly interested in. If you are open to a wide range of role/industries, remember to tailor your personal brand to resonate with specific industries you are targeting.

Build an Online Presence: Create a professional LinkedIn profile that highlights your skills and achievements. LinkedIn is a great platform to strategically engage with industry professionals, share valuable insights, and participate in relevant conversations. You may also want to craft a website, blog or online portfolio of work depending on your interests.

Produce High-Quality Content: If relevant to your industry, create content such as articles, blog posts, case studies, or videos that demonstrate your expertise and passions. Otherwise, ensure you are engaging with relevant content and expanding your knowledge base.

Network Authentically: Network,(online and offline) to connect with industry professionals, recruiters, and potential employers. Be genuine and authentic in your interactions, and focus on building relationships rather than just seeking opportunities.

Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from mentors, peers, or industry experts on your personal brand messaging, content, and online presence. Use this feedback to refine and improve your personal brand over time, adapting it to reflect your evolving skills and values.

By following these actionable steps, you start to differentiate yourself in the job market and attract opportunities that align with your career goals and aspirations.

Whilst building a personal brand can improve your chances of securing interviews, it is key that this is upheld throughout the interview process. Here’s how –

  • CV Quality – Your CV should be immaculate with no spelling errors and correct grammar. It should be neatly formatted with clear, concise and relevant information.
  • Punctuality and Consistent Communication – be quick to respond to recruiters and companies when scheduling interviews. People are more likely to engage with people who have efficient and consistent lines of communication. Even from the first call with a Recruitment Consultant, you have the opportunity to maintain your personal brand and put your best foot forward.
  • Feedback – post-interview, follow up immediately with the recruiter to relay your feedback, how you found it and how the interview matches up with any further interviews you’re in process for. If you are liaising directly with the company – follow up immediately thanking them for their time.
  • Research – Always do your research on the company you’re interviewing with. Create a set list of questions based on your research. If it’s a new industry, and whilst you probably won’t be expected to know the nuances of the sector, conveying your interest and engagement through proactive research and questioning is key.
  • Perspective – Always remember that an interview is a two-way street. You have great skills and qualities – use this time to obtain further context which you can use to make informed decisions later in the process.

Ultimately, your personal brand is your own marketing tool. Just like how your skills-set and experiences are constantly changing, so too should your personal brand. Now more than ever, the way in which you professionally promote yourself is vital in job search success.

Learn more about how our dedicated team of Recruitment Consultants can support you during your job search, from advice on building your personal brand, through supporting you during the interview process here:

Working with VWA Consultants

If you’d like to hear more about our services or anything covered in this article, or would like to make an enquiry, you can also reach out to recruit@vwa.com.

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