The complete actionable guide to building your personal brand part one: You on paper

Your personal brand is how you position yourself to the public, be that in person, on paper, or online. While it may seem unnecessary or even daunting at first, having a strong and concise brand can go a long way to setting you apart from other candidates, negotiating higher compensation and benefits packages, and even securing a promotion.

To help you maximise your career goals, we’ve outlined everything you need to build your personal brand in a comprehensive and actionable four-part series.

Decide what you want employers, colleagues, and mentors to know about you before you start building the brand that is You. Go beyond experience and education and think about what makes you a well-rounded professional.

The CV

It’s estimated that employers receive anything from 20-70 CVs per job, so your CV needs to stand out from the crowd. While you may not see your CV as a branding exercise, hiring managers will see this document as a representation of who you are so getting the branding right is vital to making a good impression.

Below is a breakdown of the areas to focus on in your CV.

Accomplishments

An accomplishment can be an example of how you contributed to your employer or an achievement that reflects the kind of employee you are. The most impressive accomplishments are measurable.

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The accomplishment should focus on where you’ve gone beyond your job role; it could be where you have implemented a new software that has improved efficiency or created a new process that saved the business money. Achievements are not part of your job description or your everyday tasks.

It can be challenging to know where to start. Write down any accomplishment, achievement or contribution that you can think of, even if doesn’t
seem significant. Do this for each position you have listed on your CV.

Now you’ve done this; you can turn the rough notes into high-impact statements. Here are some examples:

  • Dramatically improved the office efficiency by 50% within two years of changing processes.
  • Implemented new technologies which improved customer satisfaction by 20%
  • Reduced staff turnover by 10% by introducing new social events and CSR.

Additional Achievements or Experience

This is where you can highlight any other experience that isn’t tied to your job. Don’t mix this up with hobbies and interests as this should still be a professional list. Are you a self-published author or a regular contributor to industry news? Do you mentor any individuals, speak at events or are a member of a professional organisation? Are you a board member for a not for profit or run your own small side business?

These kinds of activities help position you as a thought leader in your field and will help you stand out from the competition.

Show off Your Online Presence

If you have a blog or website that talks about the industry that you (want to) work in or is a portfolio of your work, link to it from your CV.

Adding your blog or website can make you a stronger candidate for potential employers because you can demonstrate and share your knowledge of the industry (see beyond the CV for information on getting started with a website).

Add a link to your LinkedIn profile in your CV. LinkedIn allows hiring managers to see recommendations and endorsements you’ve received, projects you’ve worked on, and any additional information you couldn’t fit in your CV.

Beyond the CV

Your CV should be no more than two pages long. With such little space, it can be difficult to be concise and really tell your story. But fear not, there are other great ways that you can let your personal brand shine.

As mentioned above websites can be a great place to display work, your skills and your industry knowledge.

There are some fantastic resources available online that take the hassle out of making your professional website.

What to use

Free content management systems like WordPress are free and easy to use and you can get your site up an running with no coding knowledge. You can use free and paid templates that cover a myriad of website themes, and you can tailor them to your own needs.

There’s also a ton of walk-through tutorials available online. Our top picks are:

What to include

Your website can be a great place to display your portfolio of work whether it’s from employment, work experience or volunteering. Add images and a write up of what you did, why you did it and what the results were.

This is incredibly useful for designers, marketers, developers, engineers and many other professions. Try to create case studies including information about the organisation, the challenge, the actions and the result.

Use this website as your online hub where you link to presentations you’ve given, articles you’ve written, or others have written about you, events you’re attending or speaking at.

You can also review events you’ve attended showing that you’ve gone the extra mile instead of just going to the event. These write-ups can be shared with the speakers, panellists and other attendees who may share your website in their communities.

If you’re not comfortable setting up a portfolio website showcase your work and articles you’ve written on LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can write for online publishers like Medium where you can discuss hot topics, interests and other insightful articles.

The Social CV

LinkedIn is a professional online network with 500 million users. Unlike your CV, LinkedIn has no restrictions when it comes to the amount of career information you can add and share with your connections. LinkedIn can be used in line with your job search and personal branding to maximise your opportunities.

Headshot and Bio

Profiles with photos get 9x more connection requests. Select a photo that represents you professionally
and makes you more approachable. 

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You don’t have to enlist the help of a professional photographer; ensure you’re dressed professionally and alone in the shot.

Make sure you’re recognisable and you use an up to date photo, this is so that people know who you are at events.

We suggest having a medium to close up shot of you facing forward and smiling. You can also add a cover photo to the top of your profile.

Remember your headshot and bio are the first things people see on your LinkedIn so make it inviting. Under your profile photo, you’ll see a summary section.
Adding a summary of 40 words or more makes your profile more likely to show up in searches. Use keywords of your desired job in the summary. 

If you’re struggling on what to write here, have a paragraph of your work background or your accomplishments.

Activity

What you interact with on LinkedIn is highlighted on your profile under your summary. If you like, comment or share a post, people who view your profile will see it here. It’s a good place to show employers that you’re active in your industry and community.

Endorsements and Recommendations

The number of skills is unique to each person. Include a mix of high level and niche skills and be specific.

Add skills that your connections can endorse you for and recognise those you’ve worked with on their professional skills. This gives each of your skills a rating based on feedback from other users; it’s a great way to demonstrate to hiring managers not only your library of skills but the benefits they have added to the organisations where you've worked.

If you’re struggling to find the right term or don’t know what skills to add, why not take inspiration from the suggested skills on LinkedIn? Suggestions can be found in the ‘new skill’ section.

Having strong recommendations can help you stand out from others in your field.

Get into the habit of asking for LinkedIn recommendations from line managers, colleagues, clients and anyone you’ve had a meaningful working relationship with. Aim for quality over quantity and don’t be afraid to write recommendations for others as well.

Ask people you know will speak highly of you, so you’re not left with a single sentence lacklustre recommendation.

Your CV is just one part of your personal brand. Over the course of the next month, we will be tackling networking, social media and your presentation. Check out more of our career advice here- https://www.elevationrecruitmentgroup.com/careers-advice/

Follow us on LinkedIn to get a first look at part two of this series which will be focused on your social media and online brand.

 

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