Last month a high-powered marketing manager called me and told me she was in need of personal brand consulting to brush up on her personal brand and prepare for a job interview she had coming up in New York.
In reviewing her resume, I saw that her history was stellar and her credentials were crazy good. Not to mention she looked like a well-put-together professional who could make anything happen. I wondered why she wanted to spend her time (and money) with me.
“I just want to make sure I’m presenting my personal brand as powerfully as I can so I’m as competitive as possible,” was her simple response. As it turns out, even those at the top of their professional game know that an up-to-date, well-polished personal brand is a distinct advantage when it comes to job interviewing and career management.
As employers gain almost unlimited access via the Internet to our personal histories, they also develop a greater demand for details about who we are beyond our business acumen. A professional personal brand consulting session can offer valuable insight (and implementation) in crafting your reputation.
Here are three specific ways you can use personal brand consulting to help you create a personal brand that will show your stuff in the best light possible and land you that perfect job — from secretary to CEO.
Give Your Bio a Bold Makeover.Most bios I see are a too general and rambling to pack any punch. The key is to create a fully fleshed-out bio that highlights the accomplishments from your entire career, not just your present position. Beyond the usual information about your education and employment, here are a few things to consider including when crafting your bio:
- Significant or high-profile books, articles or blogs you have written
- Presentations or speeches you have given and for whom
- Interviews you have given on TV, radio or print media
- Relevant degrees, awards, certificates or honors you possess
- Name-recognition companies you have worked with
- Projects you have worked on that make you a thought leader in your field
I had one client whose bio was solely focused on his current work as an executive coach and totally ignored his past as a high-profile attorney, in which he had been interviewed by The New York Times, Rolling Stone and the Washington Post. I gave his bio a makeover that more accurately reflected the depth of his background and increased his credibility and personal brand.
Polish Up Your LinkedIn Profile. With your bio ready to roll, next up is updating your LinkedIn profile. Having a fully fleshed-out summary, a professional headshot and at least 10 recommendations and listing major positions held is essential. According to one Lab42 survey, leading activities on LinkedIn are
Industry networking (61%)
Keeping in touch (61%)
Co-worker networking (55%)
LinkedIn’s own Global Recruiting Trends report for 2016 shows social professional networks have become a major source (73%) of quality hires. One of my clients was the president of a 40-person financial firm and had no profile picture and only a one-paragraph summary on his profile. I did a LinkedIn profile optimization with him, and within a week he was being contacted with offers to speak at industry events — a good place to be seen by potential future employers.
Create Credibility With Content. There is no doubt that content marketing is a great way to build your personal brand. Being out there as an expert in your field can give you a leg up on the competition. Make a list of relevant top industry or business publications and blogs, and brainstorm article topics you might write about. Not a great writer, but still have something to say? No worries. You can hire someone to ghostwrite the article or post for you.
One of my clients is a brilliant speaker but can’t translate that knowledge into text. I simply interview him, write up a draft, let him review and make changes and presto — a blog post is born. Even a single, short blog post placed in the right media outlet can greatly increase your personal brand and get you seen by potential employers.
If at this point you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering where you are going to get the time to do all this personal brand building, not to worry: The nice thing about wearing so many hats is that you have the ability to hire a personal branding consultant to organize them for you.
This article is copyrighted by Karen Leland and cannot be reprinted in any form, electronic or otherwise, without the express written permission of Karen Leland.
Karen Leland is President of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding and marketing strategy and implementation firm. She works with individuals, businesses and teams to enhance their business and personal brands. Her clients include LinkedIn, American Express, Apple, Marriott Hotels and others. Her ninth book, The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand, is due out from Entrepreneur Press in May of 2016.