How has Richard Branson, a dyslexic high school dropout, managed to create a portfolio of more than 400 companies worth at least $6 billion dollars? The answer is that he created an ironclad personal brand that has carried through to each of his ventures.
Now personal brands aren’t just for passionate entrepreneurs. Personal brands are also becoming increasingly important in corporate America. If a corporation is a collection of people, then each employee accounts for a part of a company’s brand. Companies are increasingly looking at a candidate’s Internet presence as a result.
So how can you manage and create a personal brand online? Approach it like you’re a company marketing your own brand.
1. Social Media Profiles
According to recruiting industry surveys, more than 90% of corporate recruiters looked at an applicant’s social media profiles before interviewing them. A stunning 69% of hiring managers have rejected applicants based on what they found. These numbers are only expected to rise as social media becomes more ubiquitous.
Facebook allows you to control the privacy of individual posts. In order to maintain a solid reputation online, make sure that controversial or unprofessional posts are limited to target audiences. Also be aware that comments you make on your friends’ posts can show up in search results.
In order to change a post’s privacy settings, just click on the icon right above it.
You might be tempted to close down your social media profiles entirely and not show the public anything. A better strategy is to craft statuses that reflect your personality and showcase traits that recruiters find appealing.
2. Personal Website
Getting a job is all about crafting a consistent message for recruiters - consistency that goes beyond your resume. Hiring managers often visit your LinkedIn profile to make sure that what you say on your resume matches up to what you say elsewhere online.
Creating a personal website and linking to it on your LinkedIn profile is an awesome way to control exactly what a recruiter sees. It’s also a chance to showcase your creativity and make you jump from a piece of paper to an actual human being.
Setting up a good personal website takes time but leveraging platforms like Wix or Weebly can help you do it in a matter of hours.
You can see an example personal site here:
3. Start Blogging
Blogging is the single best way to create a personal brand and pique the interest of recruiters. So how did Richard Branson grow his personal brand? Why did people start following him? Because he created fantastic content that spread around the web.
Branson has leveraged his following to create a strong brand on behalf of his companies in the Virgin Group. Every time Richard creates a new company, the brand equity he has built in previous ones follows him.
Blogging is a phenomenal opportunity to get your name out there.
Realize that your personal brand is important and that it may define how successful your career is for decades to come.