Your personal brand is really just your reputation. Whether you’re known for dressing smart for school or being the class clown, everyone knows you for something. It’s so important nowadays to think about how you come across not just in person but also online.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was juggling A Levels and university applications with my social life and spending an insane amount of time on Vine (2013’s equivalent of TikTok). Now I’m in charge of building personal brands for some of the most successful and well-known business people in the UK. So I’d like to share a few hacks about personal branding to get you started.
Before the fun stuff… Why build a personal brand?
LinkedIn can help you become the go-to person for the thing you’re best at - even if you need to figure out what that is first! And the more people know you, the more opportunities will come your way. It shows employers that you’re serious and would be a good representative for their company. It also helps you build a professional network - and updating regularly makes sure people remember you.
In 2017, 70% of employers used social media to choose between candidates. It’s fine to put pictures on Instagram of you and your friends having fun. But, if you wouldn’t want a future employer to see it and quiz you on it in a job interview, make it private. The Prince’s Trust has some great tips on what it means to be professional.
Pick a platform
LinkedIn is the best for finding advice on careers and building a professional network. I’m not saying quit Instagram or TikTok, just focus your energy where you can get your name seen by the right people.
Having a distinctive photo - looking straight into the camera, professional but not too serious - that is the same across all platforms will help you stand out and be remembered. Someone will see my bright blue photo on Linkedin, then on email, then on WhatsApp. Having the same photo builds familiarity.
Nail your tagline
It’s the sentence that sits under your name on LinkedIn that sums up your brand and what you do. Some people make it matter of fact (e.g. Student at the University of Cambridge) or more descriptive, like mine, which tells people exactly how I can help them.
Engage with others
Like and comment on people’s LinkedIn posts - they’ll appreciate it as the more likes they get, the more people will see their posts. Who knows, they might be more likely to respond if you reach out by DM or email for work experience if they have seen you engage with their content.
Post, post, post
Document your internship with pictures. Celebrate handing in your coursework. Post about any milestone that could be interesting to an employer checking out your profile. The more visual the better. Posting about revising might not seem that interesting to you but could be an insight to others!
Sharing a post with zero likes is better than not posting at all. Everyone starts at zero - it takes time to grow a network and improve your online brand. And if the thought of no likes is too scary, tag me or send me a DM and I’ll be the first like!
Building your personal brand is something you can be in charge of - there’s no deadline, no exam, no grade. There’s no need to see it as a big decision that you can’t go back on - your brand will develop with you. If you’ve got to the end of this article, you’ve shown an interest, which is the most important thing. The next small step is embarking on the journey to crafting your brand online. Stay safe and good luck!