Boost Your Brand: Four Steps to Success

Let’s start with the basics – what does ‘authentic’ mean? – for me, (and the dictionary) it means real, genuine, original and accurate.

Hence, I am taking this question to mean, how should I go about showcasing who I really am?

You may be wondering, why is this important? The answer is simple, around 92 % of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates, and 31% use Facebook[1]. So your profile must be authentic.

Anyone wishing to establish an authentic professional profile will need to have a consistent message (or brand), use multiple platforms to build this profile, and remove anything that is inconsistent or inappropriate.

Bearing this in mind, my four step plan to create an authentic professional profile is as follows:

(Video created using GoAnimate, audio added using Audacity.)

Establish Your Own Brand: As the BBC video highlighted by Lisa shows, the first step is identifying what your potential employers are looking for – which will be a mix of technical skills, personality, passion and dedication. You need to find a way of describing how your attributes match those they are looking for. And this has to be short and snappy message. The concept of the elevator pitch is a useful one, shown here in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98WlZJqscVk. And remember, aside from your picture and name, your headline is what people see most often on LinkedIn[2].

Use Multiple Platforms: Clearly LinkedIn is the most well established professional platform, but this can be supplemented with a professional blog. It is also important to stand out on these platforms; last semester Sophie Collins highlighted the case of James Shamsi who not only had a video CV but posted his resume on Tinder. We should note that 94% if companies use social media to support their recruitment efforts[3].

You can even add videos to LinkedIn and you can apply the lessons that this course is teaching us to make yourself stand out.

Ensure Consistencies: This isn’t just about taking care when using Facebook. It is about ensuring that everything you post in the professional arena is consistent with your brand. Similarly, if you don’t have a (visible) Facebook account then this may look odd, and people may question why it is hidden. In a way this is the opposite of Topic 2 – clearly, if we have fragmented internet persona employers will question why. Ramierez found that 42% of candidate’s suitability was reconsidered based on the content found on their social web profiles[4].

Make the Most of What You’ve Got: Authenticity, in a sense, comes from time. If you have been keeping a fashion blog updated for five years, this shows that you have a genuine long term interest; similarly with LinkedIn, if you have a long standing account and are following key thinkers and key companies, with a range of professional people linked to you, this again emphasises your authenticity.

Take this short quiz to test the authenticity of your own professional profile:


References:

[1] Asher Rospigliosi, Sue Greener, (ed) Proceedings of the European Conference on Social Media: ECSM 2014, link

[2] Laura Shin, Career and Money Secrets to Succeed in Today’s World, Forbes Signature Series, http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/06/26/how-to-use-linkedin-5-smart-steps-to-career-success/

[3] Jobvite, Social Recruiting Survey Results, 2003, http://web.jobvite.com/rs/jobvite/images/Jobvite_2013_SocialRecruitingSurveyResults.pdf

[4] Fernando Ramierez, Social Media Screening: a Candidate’s perspective, Recruiter, https://www.recruiter.com/i/social-media-screening-a-candidates-perspective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98WlZJqscVk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a0Vm0zHFh0

https://sophiecatherinecollins.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/developing-an-authentic-professional-profile/#more-39

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12 thoughts on “Boost Your Brand: Four Steps to Success

  1. Hi Tamara

    I really enjoyed reading your blog this week, I’m so impressed that you made your own video!

    It’s interesting that we’re having to become more and more creative to stand out online, and having to use multiple platforms to gain authenticity.

    I don’t know if you remember the story of Adam Pacitti, the graduate that spent his last remaining £500 on a billboard begging for a job, which did ultimately result in a job:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/student/career-planning/please-give-me-a-job-unemployed-graduate-spends-last-500-in-his-bank-account-on-billboard-begging-for-people-to-employadam-8437406.html

    Similarly, a graduate standing outside the tube station holding a sign with his skills was offered a job in less than 12 hours:
    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/graduate-with-marketstall-patter-wins-top-job-by-holding-a-sign-outside-tube-station-9611434.html

    My point, and question, here is do you think we’ll start seeing a rise in people going ‘offline’ to stand out in their job hunt? Or is it because, perhaps, that their online presence was inadequate that this was their last resort?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I suspect these specific ‘offline’ approaches to selling yourself will only work as long as they are novel; once each approach has been used a few times it won’t make you look innovative and keen, just unoriginal.
      Personally I see high visibility online profiles as most important when either a) you have got a sufficiently strong skill set that people will look for you – i.e. you are likely to get head-hunted, or b) when (as in our position) you need something to support a job application.
      In our case, having a blog/internet site is something that you can talk about in your CV, further, having a strong internet presence will help showcase your personality when/if an employer wants to look beneath what your application says.
      So back to your question, it may well be that a weak online presence was not their problem, it may have been a weak skill set, or inability to write a strong CV, etc – and what got them the job was their display of innovation, i.e. a strong online presence is only part of the solution – for them as well as us.

      Like

  2. Hi Tamara,

    I personally find your blog is very interesting to read and easy understand. Also well supported points and ideas with references, so we’ll done.

    You have used few videos in your blog but I like the one where you are talking and explain all the important points for professional profile, that must be hard! I like to know how long does it take you to made this video?

    One thing I don’t understand after I have read your blog: if I have more than one online identities and one I used for personal like Facebook for friends and family and other for professional like LinkedIn. Where I want to continue with both accounts and not joined two together. In that case how am I meant to make myself more visible on online?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Zia,

    Thanks for the complements, and your question.

    Improving your visibility (regrettably) takes time and effort. In part this is about making the most of the platforms you use. In the case of LinkedIn, it makes sense to ‘follow’ key people and companies, embedding interesting material, I even know of people who provide regular ‘insight postings’ and ‘thoughts of the day’. However, the route I’ve gone down is to create separate material, that I am happy to connect; so I have a blog that shows my interest in my career area and I also contribute to the Wessex Scene. Other options include creating your own website and getting involved in discussion threads on relevant internet based forums. Visibility is all about being in lots of different places, and ensuring that a potential employer can easily find and navigate between the things that you want to share.
    ps: ‘visibility’ for some is ensuring that your name comes up if a search is conducted on a specific technical field or theme. That’s very had to achieve, but it involves things like; ensuring that the key words which people are likely to use in a search string are embedded in your site/postings, ensuring your site is updated regularly and linking with lots of third party sites. When I’m referring to ‘visibility’ this isn’t what I’m talking about.
    pps: In terms of the video – like all software there’s a learning curve, I’m still learning (this one took a few hours to produce) and I hope my next one will be better.
    Do you think you will be persuaded to create more online material?

    Like

  4. The video you created was a great way of summing up how to create an authentic professional profile – I found your discussion on gaining authenticity over time particularly interesting. Similarly, your quiz was a great way of encouraging readers to interact with your blog. However, as I answered ‘no’ to a couple of questions, perhaps it would be useful to have suggestions as to how I could improve my authenticity.

    You mention that as 31% of employers use Facebook to vet candidates, your profile “must be authentic”. However, what if you don’t want your Facebook profile to act as a professional profile? In Topic 2, we discussed the use of multiple identities in order to separate our professional and social identities. What if your Facebook profile is an informal, social setting used to chat with friends – you don’t want to have to spent time considering what an employer might think if they saw a particular post or image out of context. As a result, should people question a hidden Facebook account? Perhaps, rather than hiding inappropriate content from an employer, individuals instead want a degree of privacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Hayley,

    You asked two questions, so here is my answer to the first:

    I use the privacy settings on Facebook (as we should all do) so don’t think, for one mad moment, that I’m suggesting we open up our private lives to everyone. However, the reality is that stuff gets out.. for instance, a while back I lost my phone after drinking more than was good for me, hence the following posting:

    This is a permanent statement that testifies to any employer that I had fun at University, as everyone does. Indeed this UOSM2008 blog is visible to the entire world, so I’ve just restated that fact. And that is really my point; I’m content for an employer to know that I occasionally let my hair down. (After all if I was looking to recruit someone I really don’t think I’d be looking for someone who spent their 3 years at University drinking tea, that’s just not realistic).

    So when I’m referring to a “(visible) Facebook account” this goes back to last week’s discussion, I not in favour of creating an account that is deliberately hidden, where I don’t use my face, use an adaptation of my real name, etc. Instead, I’d prefer to exercise a bit of common sense with what I write, for instance, I would never write an status about not liking my job or being annoyed with my boss.

    In terms of your second question on improving your authenticity:

    I’m afraid, for me, authenticity = time and effort.

    I write fashion and lifestyle articles for Wessex Scene and have I my own fashion and lifestyle blog. These show any employer what my interests are (which are broadly aligned with my career aspirations) and what I’m like as a person. The sheer volume of this information is what provides the authenticity. A line in LinkedIn saying I’m ‘passionate about x’ has no authenticity, fifty articles and blog postings show what I’m like in a much more effective way and in a much louder voice.

    I’m not certain that this helps, but in short, my advice would be to find something your care about, that will help showcase who you are, and create our own blog, internet site, videos, etc.

    I hope this was helpful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the use of media in the video, and especially the interactive quiz in this week’s blog were a great choice, here. You’ve managed to flesh your points out more with complementing video, and also given the readers a chance to gauge for themselves how far they’re coming along with making their own professional profile. I suppose it’s only a tiny criticism, but by the nature of the quiz, there is only one right answer per question, so if you’ve for example had a LinkedIn profile for less than a year, it’s the “wrong” answer, but otherwise, it’s absolutely a nice touch!

    I also think your initial summary of authenticity does well to highlight that whenever you do take any action online with an account clearly associated with yourself, that you should ensure at least there, that your content and message remains appropriate and in-line with your beliefs, or at least those appropriate to your professional interests.

    I also agree with how you highlight the importance of a ‘snappy’ appearance/message. Of course if you’ve been writing a blog for years, an employer may only have time to glance over it and perhaps not even read an entire entry, so it really is important to make sure the look as much as the content, is clear, professional and of consistent quality that you are proud to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jens,

      Just a quick response to your comments about the scoring system on the quiz. Your observation is totally fair – unfortunately, the Polldaddy app didn’t allow me to create the flexible scoring system that I (and obviously you) wanted.

      Like

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