Having a personal brand doesn’t just mean putting yourself out there. You might have set up your online profile and attended the relevant events, but with so much competition out there for graduate jobs and internships it’s important that you’re standing out for the right reasons.
We’ve put together a list of common mistakes people make with personal branding and how to avoid them.
When it comes to personal branding it’s absolutely essential that you are focussed and have taken the time to define what you represent and where you hope to take your brand. Don’t start marketing yourself till you know what a personal brand is and how to create yours. You could confuse potential employers and waste time.
Stretching the truth
Feedback from interviews shows that the candidates who come across the best are those who are honest. Don’t lie about your experience. It’s best to highlight similar skills you have and your enthusiasm for learning new things. It’s hard to have a positive personal brand if people don’t trust what you say.
A lack of consistency
It’s important that the person employers find on LinkedIn is the same person that they see on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Google +. As a professional platform LinkedIn tends to be formal, but make sure your other social pages reflect the same core values and goals, even if the tone is more casual.
Not keeping your profiles updated
You’ve joined Twitter but haven’t posted for six months and you do have a LinkedIn profile but you’ve forgotten to add the details of your latest internship. If you’re finding it hard to keep on top of the multiple social media platforms that you’ve joined then scale back – find the sites that work best for your personal brand and focus on being active on them. Check out software such as HootSuite, which allows you to manage multiple social media pages on one page.
Doing it all online
It certainly is a lot easier to sit in front of a screen and create your personal brand from home. But the reality is that you’re more likely to make an impact in person than online. Sign up to attend careers fairs, recruitment events and open days so you can meet recruiters face to face.
Complaining about your current job
It might be that you’ve had a bad day at work and your boss is being unreasonable, but don’t tweet about it. If a prospective employer scrolls through your feed they’re likely to be unimpressed with your attitude. Some conversations are best had offline, amongst friends.
Speaking for the sake of being heard
Commenting and interacting online is a great way of catching people’s attention. There’s so much noise online these days, so stand out by offering extra value to a conversation. People have learnt to tune out, so writing ‘great post with useful information’ at the end of an article will mean your comment ends up in the spam folder. Instead, share useful content when involved in online discussions and ask relevant questions to elicit a conversation.
Only talking about yourself
The rule for sharing online tends to be 12 to one. For every post that you make about yourself make sure that there are 12 that relate to your wider network and interests. Finding those 12 posts shouldn’t be too difficult. Include content that you have created yourself, reposts from businesses and people you admire and responses to breaking news in your chosen industry.
Not showing off your originality
Your personal brand should help to highlight your uniqueness. You want to be unforgettable – so it needs to reflect your personality as well as your experience. Weave those extra-curricular passions and hobbies to create a more colourful picture of yourself. Mention the things that make you stand out: an amazing feat for charity, spent time studying abroad or the fact that you spend your spare time learning the intricate art of kite making.
Not having a personal website
Setting up a website might seem like a challenge, but the process can be very simple, and free. Use a host like WordPress to bring together all the different elements of your personal brand, including your CV, portfolio, feedback and your own unique content. Try and get a website address that includes you name and focus (eg. www.JohnSmithAccountant.co.uk) so that it can be easily found using Google.
If you think you have what it takes to succeed in a position at Enterprise, check out our roles and let us discover Brand You.