Did you know that 3 out of 4 jobs aren't advertised? This 'hidden' job market is made up of vacancies that companies prefer not to publicise for confidentiality reasons, and to prevent the competition from divulging their strategy. These posts are filled using their own recruitment sources, databases, or referrals from trusted people.
The complexity of searching for a job has highlighted the need for personal branding, in other words, a short description of who a person is and what they are like when it comes to work.
A personal branding lets you express who you are and what you represent, distinguishing you from the crowd and improving your employability. That's why it's important to learn how to develop a personal brand.
Stiff competition in the current job market means you need to stand out to the employer through a well-designed personal brand, especially if you want to access 75 % of these unadvertised jobs, given that this type of market increased some 5.5 % in 2020, according to the How to access vacancies on the hidden job market by The Adecco Group.
With the rise of remote working, companies can hire low-cost, high-quality professionals based in far-flung locations that are nowhere near their headquarters. That's why it's more important than ever to differentiate yourself from the competition.
As noted by Tom Peters, a writer specialising in business management, in his book The Brand Called You: 'the only way to differentiate yourself in an increasingly competitive world is by managing your career the way major businesses manage their product brands.'
Like a trademark, a personal brand should create engagement, to interact with and be visible to society. This lets you advertise yourself and build trust, something fundamental when it comes to strengthening the relationship with your company. At the same time, this greater exposure opens doors to potential job opportunities that can boost your career to the point of making you a leading name in your field.
Did you know that 83% of companies use LinkedIn to boost their business? LinkedIn has become the leading social media site to search for jobs and recruit staff; hence the importance of carefully crafting your personal brand on this network.
To take the first steps when it comes to designing your personal brand, you should start by asking yourself two questions: what do you want to achieve and who do you want to reach? These are the first things you need to clarify if you want to get ahead with a personal branding strategy on LinkedIn. Firstly, set your objectives and pinpoint the characteristics that can help you stand out as a professional, giving you more value on the job market. To do so, focus on the most in-demand qualities when it comes to looking for work in a specific sector.
Once your personal brand has been defined, it's time to come up with a strategy, developing and honing it professionally. This process is known as "personal brand management” or personal branding”.
What message do you want to get across? Crafting the message is crucial: what you say and do must be coherent, as well as the tone you use according to which employers or customers you want to reach. Let's look at an example:
'With a background as a creative writer in advertising agencies, three years ago I set off on a journey to define my personal brand. Since then, I've given free rein to my imagination and creativity to put your value into words. Professional brand advisor. Passionate and resourceful. I help people to make their brand shine.'
In the case of this example, the profile of the person presenting their personal brand is that of someone experienced in fields related to creativity, who is targeting companies within that sector or potential clients looking for personal brand advisory services. To attract the target reader with this personal brand, the writer outlines his qualities in a familiar, positive and motivating tone, in line with the image of the creative, imaginative and self-confident person he seeks to portray.
Lastly, plan the steps to take, both on and offline. Image is the first thing that will grab a potential employer or client's attention, making it the first differentiating factor for you to pour your efforts into. For example, create a business card that reflects who you are, attend events related to your field of work, or organise workshops to make yourself known and demonstrate your expertise.
What can you do to create a strong personal brand on LinkedIn that will be a success and help you to achieve your goals? These two examples are sure to inspire you:
Mary Barra: Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, has more than a million followers on LinkedIn, where she regularly shares content related to her own and the company's values; a top executive who knows how to position her image and, alongside it, that of her company.
Alex Lopez: another consummate professional when it comes to crafting a personal brand is social selling expert Alex Lopez, included in the World's Top 10 Social Selling Influencers. He points out that “when there are already 4 billion internet users and 3.5 billion people on social networks and you're not on there, you’re wasting the chance you've been given to produce valuable content. Another important point is that people want to speak to people, that's why these profiles work better than company ones - they offer more credibility'.
A personal brand is like the impression a professional leaves on others, that's why it's so important to get it right and ensure it's not easily effaced. With your own personal brand, that's what you need to aim for: stand out, but don't wrap the truth up in ribbons. Besides the ideas already mentioned, here are a few tips to improve your personal brand:
Be respectful, grateful, and interact with others. Put yourself out there in order to build up a network of contacts that can help you to create both business and job opportunities. To that effect, you will also have to work on your communication skills.
A personal brand is a work in constant progress. You have to nourish it regularly and continually generate quality content to keep it relevant. Otherwise, your profile won't be up-to-date and it won't generate value.
Define your personal brand management strategy. Use tools such as social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to reach a wider audience. Track the goals you've achieved and review the metrics so you can focus on what interests you.
It's no longer enough to simply create a LinkedIn profile highlighting your work experience: you have to create an innovative personal brand for work, one that grabs the attention and differentiates you from all the other candidates for whichever job you're interested in.
If you want to continue to gain experience and develop the skills and techniques that will enable you to stand out from the crowd, check out the Santander Scholarships website. Find out for yourself which skills are in demand and enhance your employability. Make the most of this opportunity!