Cross-posted from Madison blog by Basestation resident Emma Gibson-Preece.

Who are you? It’s a simple question but most people have a hard time talking about themselves.

Your personal brand is a mix of the best you have to offer – a showcase of your skills, personality traits and values. It enables employers, clients and employees to see what is important to you, what you are good at and what you are able to give back.

Whether you are looking for your first job, your next role or to be recognised in your chosen field, developing your personal brand will help you achieve your goals.

A personal brand enables you to grow your networks and establish credibility; both of which attract new and exciting opportunities – prospective clients, a new job or a new investment.  You want to stand out from the crowd but at the same time remain true to who you are.  When creating your personal brand it is important to remember that it does already exist so remember to embrace who you are, be original and play to your strengths.

Firstly ask yourself: what are your values, skills, goals and interests. It is important to differentiate yourself from the crowd – what makes you unique. Then ask others what their perception of you is.

                                                                  Are you feeling overwhelmed? Wondering where to start?

What if I told you there was one resource that could help showcase your personal brand and build your online profile? I am sure most of you have it (as approximately 380 million people do worldwide) and it’s Linkedin.

Here are some tips to help you utilise this amazing tool.

1- Complete your profile to reflect your personal brand.

So many of us are guilty of putting the basics on your profile but it is not taking advantage of this incredible career management tool.
I would recommend focusing first on these areas – the picture, the headline and the summary.

  • Your picture should ideally be a cropped headshot and should definitely reflect your personal brand as this is the first thing people will see.
  • Your headline should be 120 words or less. This is what Linkedin users see in search results, posts and group discussions. You need to change this manually as Linkedin automatically populates your most recent role and organisation. Your headline should entice the reader to open your profile. I know as a recruiter there are hundreds of great candidates out there so you need to grab our attention quickly. Remember to target it appropriately and be concise.
  • Your summary is where you want to articulate how you are different from the rest. Don’t just tell us about yourself – tell stories of your achievements and successes.

2- Use Keywords.

Keywords will ensure your profile is found. Profiles (and searching for profiles) are all based on algorithms.  To ensure your profile is found it needs to match all the criteria.

  • General job titles as 'Business Manager' is likely to be found (because it is a recognised Linkedin Job Title) but 'Business Manager – Tools' is likely to be missed.
  • Make clear and concise statements when describing each role. For example use phrases like “lead team of 100 people” or “increased sales by 100%”.
    This does two things:
    • Linkedin matches these phrases to the jobs listed on the site.
    • When a recruiter sees it, it is quantifiable and also credible.

3- Grow your network.

  • Link in with like minded people, people you admire, recruiters who specialise in your field and the like.
  • Join groups that will align you with your area of expertise.
  • Be visible – deliver valuable content with your personal brand in mind. Try to ensure you add value and not just recycle content. Rather than liking something, share and add your thoughts.

Whatever you do, keep your personal brand in mind by being authentic and avoiding clichés.

At the end of the day your name and reputation is your biggest asset which will stay with you for your entire life.

A brand is not only who you are but what you do – so get out there and remember to walk the walk not just the talk.

I think Peter Leibman said it best “it’s not all about who you know – it’s about who likes you and who respects you.”

Author bio

Emma Gibson-Preece is a recruitment consultant at Madison.