Attending the 2023 Employability & Careers Expo hosted by the Student Development team was an excellent opportunity for third and fourth year Undergraduates and Postgraduates like myself to explore different career paths and enhance our employability skills. Out of the various events I participated in, the Personal Branding, Marketing & PR session presented by Michelle Brown stood out and provided me with valuable insights. Here are my top 5 takeaways from the event:
Tip 1: Get to know yourself
Spend some time thinking about who you are. What are your values, your likes and dislikes, interests, qualities, strengths? This will help to determine how you want to present yourself to potential employers and what impression of yourself you want to communicate. Be true to yourself!
Tip 2: Find your Unique Selling Point (USP)
What sets you apart from others? Like a brand or organisation, it’s important to consider what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is. Is it your creativity, technical expertise, resilience to change, or your ability to work in a diverse workplace? Identify your USP and make it the core of your personal brand and your online presence.
Tip 3: Be truthful
Honesty is the best policy! It's important to be truthful and authentic in your personal branding. Don't exaggerate your achievements, qualifications or experiences unless you want to risk getting caught out. Instead, being true to yourself and your values will help to build a strong, credible and sustainable foundation for your brand.
Tip 4: Consistency is key
Consistency is key to building a strong personal brand. Whether it's your LinkedIn, CV, or professional demeanour, make sure everything aligns with who you are and what you stand for. A powerful example Michelle gave to demonstrate this point was that if you’re promoting vegan businesses online one day, you shouldn't be talking about enjoying steaks 3 times a week the next day! This would be inconsistent with what you are trying to represent. Once the trust with your audience is broken, it can take a lot of time to repair the damage.
Tip 5: Protect your professional image
Employers today often do background checks on social media and will likely search your name on Google. Make sure your personal life does not detract from your professional image. Be mindful of what you post online because many people can see it. Some suggestions for your personal accounts would be strengthening your privacy settings and regularly auditing your published content.
A well-built personal brand that is effectively communicated to its target audience is essential for professional success. By creating a strong and authentic personal brand, you can stand out from the crowd and become more attractive to potential employers. Building a personal brand takes time and effort, but it's worth it in the long run!
Thin Myat Noe is an MSc Marketing & Business Analysis student (2022-23)