Nowadays it seems to keep getting harder to stand out and to look unique. People are literally applying for jobs with hundreds at a time. Even on the wintery street scene most look just gray and dull in their dark clothes and dark coats, nobody really stands out. Yet everyone is unique! How can you manage to not be seen as one those gray mice, or as one of the 13 in a dozen? The answer is personal branding!

What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is presenting yourself as a brand. Basically it is marketing of an individual. It means sketching a positive image of a person in which it is instantly obvious why this person is unique and what he or she is good at. The purpose is usually to present yourself on the job market to find a new job or to get a higher position than your current job.

How do you do that?
The Internet and in particular social media are perfectly suited to promote yourself. It is easily accessible, available for everyone and mostly free! It only costs you time and effort.

As a professional there is one thing that you definitely need to have: a complete (!) LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is increasingly used by recruiters instead of the classic resume, mainly because of the option to view recommendations. Your profile also simplifies clicking through to pages/websites of previous employers and it shows if you are a good networker. When your profile is incomplete less people will find you. In case it also differs from your classic resume, it will probably work against you instead of for you. So make sure to complete your entire profile, including your work history, educations and skills, and try to collect recommendations for them. When you are working internationally it is recommended to translate it to more than one language, in particular in English. Pay attention to your profile picture: make sure you have a representative (semi-) business photo and not a holiday photo or something. You can only make a first impression once!

Your own website or blog are certainly another good way to show more of yourself. You can use your own creativity for the appearance and you can clarify what you are thinking about, what you are working on and/or what subjects you know more about in a blog. In addition the social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are excellent media for personal branding. If your are creative, you can add Pinterest to that list as visual back-up.

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As always there are some rules (of conduct) for personal branding as well:

    • Be consistent in all your expressions. Make sure to create the same image of yourself everywhere and especially don’t contradict yourself. This will add to the brand recognition

 

    • Be yourself and don’t pretend to be something/someone else, because:
      1. you can never keep this up for long
      2. thanks to the Internet you’ll have a higher risk of getting caught
      3. it is easier to be consistent if you’re telling the truth

 

    • In social media…
      Do’s:

      • post positive messages
      • show ambitions, achievements and your own development (in moderation, you want to appear as too arrogant)
      • maintain a good balance between work and private life, then it won’t be so bad to combine the two and there will be no need for two separate accounts either

       

      Don’ts:

      • no whining, about nothing and no one
      • shielding off whole profiles, of course it’s better to shield off your contact information for those who aren’t your friends, but leave things like profession, hobbies and education, so people can get an image of you
      • repeatedly talk about one subject, like partying/pets/children… it is fine to talk about these subjects on occasion or in alternation with other subjects, but when you talk too much about one subject people get bored with you and besides that it will create an one-sided image of you
      • profile photos which show you partying/with drinks/with sigaret in your hand… a cultural holiday picture in front of a pretty building on the other hand could be just fine…

 

  • Google yourself frequently! Things will stay on the Internet forever, so make sure to check thoroughly for any weird photos/expressions which you might have posted as a teenager (maybe even in a drunken state). Did you find something that you want to have removed? Try to delete it yourself or contact the administrator of that website.

There are probably a lot more things you could keep in mind, but with this list you should make a very good start.