Searching for a job is always stressful. You may not currently have a job, and even if you do, you’re probably not satisfied with your current position. On top of that, you’ll have limitless options of where to work, thousands of competitors to contend with, and a lingering sense of uncertainty as you wade through these murky waters.
A strong personal brand can help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting hired, but at the same time, creating and managing a personal brand can be a lot of work. Is it really a necessary addition? And is it worth the investment?
The Basics of Personal Branding
A personal brand is a collection of traits designed to improve public perceptions and boost the visibility of a given individual. Your personal brand includes your experience, your values, your vision, and even your personality. Over time, your personal brand can play a massive role in making you more visible, improving your reputation, and connecting you with experts and influencers in your industry.
According to the Personal Branding Blog, establishing a personal brand can help you compete in a global marketplace. It can help you stand apart from other candidates and incentivize recruiters and hiring managers to talk to you.
The Benefits of a Personal Brand
These are some of the best benefits of having a personal brand in place:
- Greater trust. If you have a strong personal brand in place, your prospective employers will be more likely to trust you from the outset. You’ll have an air of authority and sincerity from the beginning of your discussions.
- Higher credibility and expertise. If you show that you’re an expert in your chosen field, you’ll have higher credibility and more expertise. Employers will be forced to take you seriously.
- Competitive differentiation. There are 8.6 million people out of work in the United States alone. That’s a lot of competition. Having a strong personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd.
- Permanent personal assets. In the course of creating a personal brand, you’ll be creating blog posts and other content that will follow you far beyond this specific job search.
- Stronger negotiating power. With a better personal brand in place, you’ll be in a position to push for a higher salary and more benefits.
- A side stream of income. Depending on the influence and power of your personal brand, you may be able to turn it into a side stream of income.
Job Searching Without a Personal Brand
Just how important is a personal brand? Is it possible to find a job without one?
Technically, the answer is yes. You don’t need a personal brand for most jobs; as long as you have the relevant work experience and you manage to get an interview (and nail the interview), you can get hired without ever practicing personal branding. But this is becoming more of an exception these days. With more competition than ever, thanks to remote hiring and online job searches, it’s increasingly important to devote at least some time to building your personal brand.
What Does It Take to Create a Personal Brand?
The good news is that creating a personal brand doesn’t take much time or effort – and it’s completely free if you’re willing to spend time on the project.
Here’s all you’ll need to get started:
- Profile and description. Who are you? What kind of education and experience do you have? What are you hoping to achieve in your career? A short paragraph summary is a great place to start here.
- A portfolio. What kind of work have you done in the past? Show off your best creations, or list some of your proudest achievements.
- A website/blog. It’s helpful to have a dedicated website for your brand – or at least a blog where you can share your thoughts regularly.
- Social media activity. Make sure you have a social media profile on each of the major platforms, and choose one or two on which you can be regularly active. On those platforms, reach out to new people regularly to build your network, engage in groups, and showcase your expertise.
- Networking. Professional networking is huge for personal brand building. Try to meet new people as often as possible and cultivate a bigger following.
It’s definitely possible to search for a job and get the position you want without a personal brand. But it’s going to make things unnecessarily harder for you. But, like marketing, personal brands don’t take much time or effort to create, and they ultimately pay for themselves. Because of that, there’s no reason not to create a personal brand before job searching – and doing so can make your job search substantially easier.