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Personal branding for career success
Personal branding for career success

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1 Who do I want to promote myself to?

In Week 2 you looked at the importance of correctly identifying your target audience. Now you’re ready to have a go yourself.

A smiling woman in red sunglasses shouts into a megaphone against a plain blue background.
Figure 1 Spread the word

Remember the key points of the two-stage process:

  • Identifying your audience
  • Researching your audience

When you think about the career goals you want to achieve, they will probably fall into one of three broad categories, each with a potentially different target audience.

  1. Enhancing your current situation, either by gaining some new responsibilities or achieving an internal promotion – in this case, your target audience might be peers and colleagues, senior managers, members of the Human Resources team in your organisation, etc.
  2. Changing your emphasis, perhaps by doing the same job for a different employer, or using your skills in a different context within your current organisation – here, your target audience might be individuals you’ve identified in other departments or companies, or it might be representatives from a relevant professional body or recruitment consultancy, etc.
  3. Doing something new, either because you’re starting your career and everything is new, or because you want a complete change and a new challenge. Initially, your target audience might include people already doing the role you aspire to. They can help you research the role, who the main employers are, what they look for, etc.

When you’re considering how to research the various organisations or individuals, you can take a three-pronged approach:

Online – company websites or social media feeds can be a useful way to gain an insight into what’s going on within an organisation. You might even pick up on some key names of individuals who regularly post and seem to share your views or experience. Professional bodies and other trade organisations or publications often have websites that include a news page to keep you up-to-date with changes within an industry.

On paper – while most printed material will also be available online, there might be some internal newsletters or more obscure trade publications that provide a useful insight.

In person – try to go along to industry-related events, e.g. conferences, breakfast meetings, networking evenings, etc. You can often find out about these events through following employers or professional bodies on social media, or taking out student membership of relevant organisations. This will provide an excellent opportunity to find out the things that might not appear on corporate websites or in print, and to meet people who might be able to help you achieve your goals. You’ll also be raising your profile with those people, which makes targeting them with more direct questions about potential employment easier.

Activity 1 My audience

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

The first stage is to identify who your target audience is. Think about the career goals that you identified in Week 4. Who will help you achieve those goals? Employers, colleagues, peers, etc.?

List your target audiences in the box below.

The second stage is to research your target audience. Choose one of the targets you’ve just thought of and research them and their organisation further. Make a note of key findings here.

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Once you have a clearer idea of the groups you plan to target, you can start to consider exactly what you want from them, e.g. information, insight, a job, etc., and plan how you are going to share your personal brand with them in a way that encourages them to engage with you.

Some of this research will start to tell you what your future employers are looking for. The next section will provide an overview of some of their current preferences.