The Importance of Personal Branding

Whether you’re looking for work, or hiring a new team member, personal and business branding are vital contributing factors for success. This month, Sally Mlikota, Director, CBC Staff Selection shares some of her tips on how job seekers and employers can maximise their chances of securing their dream role, or hiring their next team member.

Why is branding important in recruitment?

Personal branding is everything, and that’s not an exaggeration. A good way to explain it is to think of it as your reputation. It’s a reflection of who you are which can be gained not only in person, but online. With aspects of our lives being made available on social media, it has become the norm for prospective employers to Google applicants prior to selecting them for interview. Similarly, applicants will more than likely have researched businesses before they commit to submitting their resume.

Just as consistent business branding helps build trust, so too does having a solid personal brand. Companies such as Cadbury, Bunnings and Dyson for example, are regarded as being trustworthy, reliable, authentic and customer focussed. They have built this reputation deliberately over a prolonged period of time, and the same should apply to your personal brand.

How do you build a strong personal brand?

Your personal brand should be true to who you are and not be consciously constructed. There are, however, practical steps you can take to round off some of the edges to give yourself the best chance of success. Firstly, know your audience. Who are you trying to appeal to? Think about the sort of businesses you want to work for and have a good look at your social media accounts. Is there anything that needs cleaning up?

Whilst you may feel your private life should be separate from your work life, consider the sort of role you are going for. If there is anything public that may come across in an unfavourable light on your social media channels, think about what impression it gives. Remember, it is likely your potential employer won’t have met you previously, and just as we make decisions based on first impressions in other areas of our lives, so too will potential employers. If they’ve Googled you, their first impression will already have been set.

Change the settings on your social media accounts, delete or hide anything that is in poor taste and make sure your personal email address is sensible rather than ‘out there’. Set up a new one if necessary.

What about resumes?

Your resume should match your LinkedIn profile. You would be surprised how many times the two don’t align. Just as consistency is important in marketing, the same is true in your personal life. Consistency builds trust. This is why we pick the same things from the menu at our favourite restaurant every time we visit. We know we’re going to like it as it’s consistently good.

Make sure your brand aligns with your values, and that you align with the values of the industry you want to work in. Whilst it is tempting to hire someone to write your resume, it still needs to sound like you, so make sure you give a thorough brief or if possible, only use someone to proofread and offer suggestions for improvement.

How can I improve my personal branding?

The best approach is to ask someone you trust how you come across both in person and online. Keep in mind that friends and family are likely to find it harder to give constructive feedback and could say what you want to hear. Ask someone who you know is going to be direct and ideally, someone in the business community who has experience hiring staff. 

What about at interview?

Appearance is important, so make sure you dress for the role. For some industries, that can be relatively casual but dressing smartly is always going to present a better first ‘real life’ impression than arriving in your weekend wear. This doesn’t mean you have to be someone else, but it does mean that you will have ticked a metaphorical box.

What about business branding when recruiting?

Employer brand refers to the perception your staff (current and previous), customers and the wider business community have of your business. It’s how you showcase your company as being a great place to work.

A business with a good reputation will not only recruit the best team members, but retain them as well. Employees become your ambassadors, so make sure you are a great employer to give yourself the best chance of continuing to grow a successful business.

If your business brand is strong, you will attract high quality candidates and in the current market, they are in short supply. In a close-knit community such as Cairns, if you have a good brand, people will know about it.