4 What do employers say about personal branding?
Professional services company PwC takes personal branding seriously. It runs online courses and sessions for students, and has created this short video:
While employers won’t always refer to it as your ‘personal brand’ they are keen to gain a clear impression about you and your abilities quickly. If you can make yourself standout from all the other people they are assessing in a short space of time, they will be impressed.
A clear, targeted personal brand will demonstrate to them that you have spent time considering their needs and how you can align with and support them, and they will be grateful that they don’t have to waste time trying to figure you out!
Personal branding is often linked to social media, and employers regularly look at our social media presence as part of their evaluation.
Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation Report surveyed 1600 human resources professionals across several industries and presented the following data about their use of different social media platforms to evaluate candidates when hiring:
Table 1 Use of different social media platforms
Clearly, when you start to raise your profile with colleagues, peers and potential employers, it makes sense to consider your digital footprint, i.e. the information about you that exists because of your online activity. Next week, you’ll look at how to tidy your digital footprint before starting to raise your profile.
Personal branding for existing employees
Employers aren’t just interested in assessing the personal brand of job applicants, they are increasingly focused on helping existing employees to develop theirs.
Homayun (2016) shares eight tips for enhancing your brand in the workplace. If your employer is supportive, they might be able to facilitate some of these ideas:
- Network over lunch – invite a colleague to join you for lunch and find out what they do
- Help others – look for opportunities to offer your help, perhaps over coffee with a colleague
- Write a thank you note to someone who you appreciate, e.g. an office assistant
- Start a book club – select industry-specific or general business books that will appeal to all
- Ask intelligent questions – do some homework before meetings and showcase your understanding
- Get involved in a new project – aim to contribute outside your normal working hours
- Be charismatic – think about your body language
- Be noticed for the right reasons – don’t be late to meetings or work on your laptop throughout when you get there.
Activity 4 Being noticed for the wrong reasons
Think about someone at work who has a work-related habit that annoys or frustrates you. It might be that they are constantly playing with their phone during meetings or focus on only one topic that they repeatedly bring up regardless of relevance.
Consider how that affects your opinion of them. Do others share your frustration?
We have all had colleagues who are nice people and good at their jobs, but who become annoying or irritating in certain contexts. It doesn’t always mean that we can’t have a productive working relationship with them, but it does affect our opinion of them and our desire to work with them more than we have to.
If they knew that a particular attitude or approach they were using was damaging their personal brand, maybe they would change it. Do you have any annoying habits that might impact on how your personal brand is perceived?
So, you’ve considered how employers might value and promote personal branding, but what happens when that personal brand isn’t as positive as you might like?