What is a “Career Brand?”
Your career brand is important when it comes to finding a job or moving up the ladder at your current organization. But what is a career brand? Your career brand is the value proposition that you represent to your employer and any prospective employers. It is your reputation as an employee as well as a showcase of what you can provide to an organization.
A career brand includes your skills, passions, experience, work style, career desires and more. It is similar to a product or company brand. Different products and different companies have different reputations. They also have different feelings and values associated with them. A career brand works the same way.
Having a strong career brand is important for career advancement. It tells leaders and managers what they can expect when they work with you. Due to this, it’s important that you take steps to build and shape your career brand to support your future career goals.
There are a wide variety of ways to brand yourself. When you are crafting your brand message (often a 30-second elevator pitch), it’s important to think about the unique value proposition that you bring to an organization. Answer the questions – what do you do well? What excites you about your role? What do you want in the future? To demonstrate your value, answer the following three questions about yourself:
- What skills and experience do you bring to a team?
- How would an employer benefit from hiring you or promoting you?
- What additional talents, skills and experience do you have that make you unique?
Keep in mind how others would describe you – what adjectives would they use?
In many cases, it’s a good idea to start your branding by deciding what your target job is. Once you know what type of job or organization you’re aiming for, it’s easier to determine what you have to offer.
Tailoring your brand message to a specific job or organization will increase the likelihood of being noticed. This is similar to how companies structure their advertising to a specific target market.
Using the Internet to Build your Career Brand
Having a strong resume is part of building your career brand, but it’s not the end all and be all. Today, most employers use online profiles and social media to recruit and to make hiring decisions. That means that if you don’t have a strong online profile that promotes and enforces your career brand, you may be missing out on opportunities.
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles are all frequently searched by recruiters. Therefore, it’s crucial that these platforms represent your brand in a positive light. Add your work experience, professional history and accomplishments to these profiles in whatever ways possible, even if they’re not specifically built for this purpose. For example, you can list your volunteer experience on your Facebook page or link to your resume in your Twitter bio.
Update these profiles regularly to make sure that they’re current and, remember, only post what you would want an employer to read, see or evaluate you on.
Building a strong online career brand will allow you to network and enhance your brand even more, so using your online profiles regularly is a great way to stay top of mind.
You should also create a personal website with a custom domain (such as your name or a variation of your name .com) and update this regularly as well. You can use this page to link to all of your social profiles, host your resume and provide more details on who you are, what you do and what your passions are. A personal website gives you the opportunity to say more about yourself than your resume will allow.
It’s also important that you don’t undermine or contradict your career brand message with your online messaging. For example, if one aspect of your brand is that you are detail-oriented, make sure you check all of your posts for typos. If you position yourself as someone who excels at building relationships, ensure that your LinkedIn profile is updated with your most important contacts.
Building your career brand is an on-going, iterative process. It is built on what you say, how you act and how others perceive you. Be realistic about what your current brand says about you and how you might want to adjust and enhance it over time.