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5 Ways to Build and Differentiate your Personal Brand

Differentiating yourself in your career and job search matters.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

As the job market continues to take off in 2018, now is the perfect time to build your personal brand. Differentiating yourself in your career and job search matters. Yet, I see LinkedIn profiles that read like generic resumes, or people that post a series of rants on social media without stopping to think about how it might reflect on them.

As a Chief People Officer of Fjuri, and former HR leader for companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, I’ve met with countless professionals who have successfully built their personal brands, mapping closely to their career goals and where they want to be in the future.

When you look at the best examples of personal brands online, what are the attributes that stand out? For me, some of the top words that come to mind are authenticity, credibility and passion. Ultimately you want to be your authentic self, showing potential employers how your skills are uniquely differentiated from others, while also sharing your passion, along with supporting work examples and accomplishments. Do all three, and you have a chance to stand out with recruiters and hiring managers.

Here are 5 tips to help you build your personal brand – to better stand out with prospective employers and uncover new opportunities:

1. Be persistent with your dream and flexible with your journey. It’s important to find time to think about the big picture. What areas are you most interested in building your career around and what are the milestones of success? By reflecting on your strengths and areas you want to build more experience, you’re able to define a clearer roadmap of where you want to go, and seek out new opportunities in the right areas.

At the same time, you have to stay open to new experiences. Being successful in your career starts with setting goals, while also showing a willingness to experiment and stretch further. As you identify and take on new career opportunities, revisit your overall career plan to evaluate what new areas you’re investing in and how you may want to pivot. If you try to plan your entire career 5 years out or more, you risk missing out the next big opportunities in industries that don’t exist today

2. Share your voice and passions. What are your superpowers? Ultimately, you’re going to shine in a job where you can add the most value and feel passionate about the work you’re doing on a daily basis. Finding your passion starts with recognizing what empowers you to love what you do. What type of work and environment do you thrive in? I’m a firm believer that when people are motivated and inspired, they do their best work. Find a role that aligns with your strengths and passions.

Share your knowledge, passions and personal causes that shape your point of view. Your voice is the unique character that differentiates your personal brand. When you let others know what is in your heart and mind, your personal brand and passion will shine through.

3. Don’t be a staged house. Self-awareness versus self-promotion is what builds your credibility and differentiates you. Being active and posting on social media isn’t developing your brand voice. Your purpose and differentiation will shine when you are authentic and transparent.

Recruiters are looking at online profiles and resumes constantly, so it’s important to be specific about who you are and what you do, while also letting your passion shine through. You want to paint a broad, but authentic picture of your experience and strengths.

4. Audit your social profiles. Keep in mind the first thing potential employers do is ‘Google’ you to check out your social profiles. If you’re not active on social media, hiring managers may not find you particularly interesting when compared to other candidates. At the same time, you need to be mindful of what you post as your digital trail tells a story. Have you posted some photos to Facebook or sent some tweets that don’t do your brand justice? If so, take that content down and leave up the content that reflects who you are and your passions across both work and life.

5. Network and build connections. Often the best career opportunities come when you move beyond the familiar and reach out beyond your immediate networks of coworkers and friends. That’s why it’s important to stay engaged with your network, while also building new connections. Leverage industry introductions, social groups via career sites to target a specific industry and jobs within those circles to network and engage.

Why this all matters

To have your brand shine through, 1) you need be authentic, 2) you need to differentiate and 3) you need to show passion. Do all three, and you have a chance to stand out with recruiters and hiring managers, build a positive reputation and land new opportunities.

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