Associate Lecturer Dr Sebastian Krook unravels the mysteries of personal branding and provides insight into how branding can benefit your career, Max Bennett writes.
We’ve all heard of the term “personal brand”, but do we really know what it means, and what we can do to develop and enhance it to position ourselves for that dream job?
Like Rolls Royce signifies luxury and Rolex signifies precision, your personal brand will characterise the qualities and attributes you wish to project to an external audience.
Peter Faber Business School Associate Lecturer in Human Resources and Marketing Dr Sebastian Krook believes the importance of development and adding to your “brand” is vital to career progression and development.
“Starting to build a career is very much about profiling yourself as having particular competencies that others lack,” Dr Krook said.
“Your degree certificate says one thing about you, but you can add to that by finding a niche area of expertise that relates to something you would like to work with in the future. Whatever you want to be an expert at, go and be an expert at it.”
A strong proponent of the benefits of business networking website LinkedIn, Dr Krook said the benefits, particularly early in your career, of a strong LinkedIn network can have a significant impact on future employment prospects.
“LinkedIn is all about networking with the right people, while following industry trends and developments. Once you have decided on a niche for yourself, it’s time to start following ‘thought leaders’ in that field, and learn from them,” Dr Krook said.
“What expressions do they use, what are they talking about, how do they present themselves? Look at the content they repost and the stories they tell – taking cues from the pros is a vital first step.
“Once you get a sense of how to talk like a thought leader, you will build a more confident and professional vocabulary, and before you know it, you will be contributing with your own informed commentary in your chosen niche area of expertise.
“I see students who have graduated, and who stay in touch on LinkedIn, and some of them have built impressive profiles and are actively engaging in public conversations on a variety of topics.”
While online networking will provide you with opportunities to form professional relationships with people from across business, many of these connections are first made through functions, seminars, and conferences.
“Spending time in the virtual space, such as LinkedIn, with accomplished professionals is one way to learn the culture of a particular profession. Knowing the culture, and being able to comment on industry developments in a knowledgeable way, will earn you respect when you meet other potential employers, whether at a function, conference, or seminar in the real world,” Dr Krook said.
Three steps to developing your personal brand and direction for your career
1. Get connected on LinkedIn
Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are all staples in your social media arsenal, but you need to start building your professional network and LinkedIn is a site where future employers will be looking at your profile. It is important to be careful what you post. This is not a social site, it’s strictly business, so no LOLZ-cat pictures.
2. Follow your heroes' footsteps
Who do you admire? Who inspires you? When developing your personal brand, you need to work out what you want to do and where you want to go. With the retirement ages continuing to push into the late 60s your career will go through many phases and changes over time. To provide direction look at the pros on LinkedIn, and see what they are saying and how they present themselves.
3. Get engaged
Can you play guitar? Why not offer lessons to a family friend. Are you good at soccer? Coach the local under 10s in your area. Community engagement gets you out there doing things. These activities often lead to other opportunities. And when you do something like this, post it on your LinkedIn profile. Prospective employers will see you are someone who is engaged in life and this could give you the edge over your competitor. At ACU, community engagement is a core part of the curriculum, and our graduates say this was extremely helpful in landing a job.