During the past two weeks I was lucky enough to take part in two Twitter chats with Algonquin College PR students. The chat involved students asking questions about PR, the industry, getting a job, etc. PR professionals responded by giving their input and opinions on how to succeed in the PR and communications world.
One question I saw frequently was: how do I market myself to PR managers in the industry to help me get a job after graduation. There are many ways you can market yourself as a “hire-able” person. One way is to have and build a personal brand.
Personal branding is a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. The personal branding concept suggests that success comes from self-packaging. Further defined as the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual; this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.
The easiest way I see to explain my personal brand is by asking the question: when others see me/think of me what are the words that come to mind? If my personal branding has been successful, people should think: bilingual, outgoing, professional, etc.
A personal brand is how you market yourself to the world. For example, if you talk about PR and social media, share links and make intelligent comments on current issues in social media, your personal brand may be: social media expert. However, the same goes for putting drunk pictures of yourself up on Twitter and Facebook, your personal brand may be: drunk, irresponsible.
If you are trying to market yourself to potential employers, make sure you present your skills and expertise online and in person. Building a personal brand can take years, and in some cases a lifetime. Figure who you are and what you are good at, then market that through social media and networking.
How to build your personal brand?
A new report by Microsoft states that 64% of HR managers think it is appropriate to look at online profiles of candidates and 41% have rejected people as a result. This statistic would naturally encourage you to ensure you market your online brand in a respectable manner.
Mashable has a five step system to protecting and communicating your personal brand:
- Don’t ignore mentions. If someone has mentioned your good work via social media, make sure to thank them, connect with them and share the praise with your network.
- Don’t spread yourself to thin. It is important to know about the hundreds of social networks out there, but remember it is quality not quantity. It is better to be well established on one network, than unable to engage, keep up and interact on 10 networks.
- Know your audience. One of the most repeated rules in communications. If you are marketing your personal brand to potential employers, make sure you keep that in mind when you interact with them.
- Limit self-promotion. No one likes a bragger. Don’t be afraid to promote big accomplishments or awards, but also make sure you are sharing helpful content and promoting others. Most likely, if you promote someone they are more susceptible to reciprocating and promoting you.
- Be consistent. Simple things like choosing a unified picture for all your social media networks helps make you recognizable.