Kick-Starting Your Personal Brand

By Angela Soh

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive every year. With jobseekers constantly looking to gain an edge over their peers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you need to step up your game in order to remain competitive. As a student, you may not be surveying the job market or contemplating your next step after graduating yet. But you should definitely be.

A good way to begin is to start building your own personal brand – not only will this help you stand out from the crowd, it will also enable you to have a clearer idea of your path after graduating.

Step 1. Know Yourself

Start by asking yourself these questions: • What are the skills, qualities and experiences you have that differentiate you from your peers? • What do you hope to achieve in five years’ time? • What energises you? • What have you done and how do you plan to reach your destination? The purpose here is for you to understand your personality, passion, skills and shortfalls so you can improve on them. You need to identify what makes your biggest selling point to your target audience. You can even ask your family, friends and mentors for their opinions.

Step 2. Your Online Presence

An increasing number of employers now look up prospective applicants online during the hiring process. A quick Google search will reveal what a prospective employer will see, enabling you to remove any posts or pictures that may not portray you in a good light. A good rule of thumb is that if you find them inappropriate to be shown on national television, they should not be found online.

Similarly, your social media profiles should always be kept updated and as complete as possible. They should convey your personality, skills, interests and aspirations. For instance, you should list your achievements, internships, projects and co-curricular activity positions held previously in your LinkedIn profile. Social media sites are also platforms for you to join groups and discussions and let your voice be heard. And when building your online profile, don’t forget to incorporate the right keywords into your profile. This will help you get discovered when recruiters search for potential candidates online.

Step 3. Going Beyond Social Media

A good way to stand out is to set up a personal website. Use it as an extension of your resume that elaborates on your projects and achievements. Creating a blog that discusses content and developments in your focus area will give you better visibility and help you stay updated on the latest happenings. Platforms such as WordPress, Blogger and LinkedIn are great ways to share your opinions and knowledge with those that matter.

Step 4. Be True to Yourself

A personal brand helps others get to know you better. But if your personal brand is not based on truths, you can lose all credibility and trust. Do not pretend to be someone you are not or claim interest in things you care little about. More importantly, always be able to substantiate your claims. The key point is to make sure your online brand is a perfect expression of your offline identity. Personal branding is all about showing instead of simply telling. The key to personal branding is doing great work, improving yourself as a person and helping others as often as you can. It is a reflection of your true character and should be built on your strengths and values. As Jim Joseph of Cohn & Wolfe said, “Your personal brand should be the totality of all that you do.”

This article was originally posted on angelasoh.com.

Have you spent time building your personal brand? How do you go about doing it? Share with us in the comment box below!

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