If you’ve been on LinkedIn lately, you’ve probably seen the phrase ‘personal brand’ pop up a few times. Used to describe the amazing potential that can come from consistent and relevant posting over LinkedIn, a personal brand is a key part of business relationship building that many job seekers overlook. Gary Gumbleton, Creative Director at video content agency Capital Content, talks about how and why you should be focusing on building a personal brand for your current role and next career move.
We can’t see anyone, we can’t go anywhere, and unemployment is at an all-time high.
Every day I see another five posts on LinkedIn from people saying they’ve been made redundant
or they are now #openforwork. My heart goes out to them and I help where I can, but the trouble
is most of these people have never posted on LinkedIn before.
For most of them, they signed up to the platform in 2003 and then left their profile sitting there as
a static CV, updating it with each new role and maybe throwing out the occasional ‘like’ on
someone’s birthday. They’ve never really engaged with anyone on the platform, and certainly
haven’t pushed out a piece of content of their own.
Like many others out there, they’ve failed to grasp that LinkedIn is a social network, and users
that are neither social nor networking are missing out on its potential.
When I work with businesses, I advise them to do more than just sell their products. I tell them
they should be creating consistent video content that demonstrates their knowledge, personality
and values. And now I’m telling you that in the name of your career, you need to take on the
mindset of a business and start marketing yourself properly.
Let me explain.
If you saw an advert for a brand you’d never heard of that said “Buy my product”, would you?
But you might be more likely to buy, or at least engage, if that brand posted content every week
for a year that demonstrated expertise, relevance and value.
The same goes for people and jobs. When you’re active on LinkedIn, each piece of content you
put out and each comment you leave on other people’s posts builds your personal brand. It might
feel like a lot of effort, but you’ll be glad you put in the effort when the time comes to look for your
next role. You’ll have grown your network, made meaningful connections and shown what kind of
person you are outside of the skills listed on your CV.
Thanks to the preemptive work you’ve put in, when you post saying you’re looking for work,
people are much more likely to recommend you to others in their network. Additionally, if (when)
potential employers search for your profile, they’ll be impressed by your focus on your career and
your expertise in your industry.
It doesn’t have to be video, although what better way is there to replicate the traditional face-toface
time we’re so desperate for right now. You can start with a weekly text post about what
you’ve been up to or a lesson you’ve learnt that week, then move up to opinion pieces or posts
that spark a discussion.
Whatever you do, think of it as the modern-day version of ‘dress for the job you want, not the job
you have’, or even better, consider your personal brand your own personal insurance policy. Keep
your LinkedIn profile up to date and ensure you focus on being ‘social’ even when you have a job
– because if a time comes when you don’t, you’ll wish you’d put in the leg work earlier.