The terms personal branding and thought-leadership are bandied about on a regular basis, writes Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors but what do they really mean and how can finance professionals harness them as a tool for raising their profile and attracting the right career opportunities?
What Jeff said…
Personal branding is all about controlling the way people perceive you - Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) summed it up nicely when he said that “your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”.
The 4 Ps…
It’s really no different to company branding - companies have a product (or service), a positioning in their market-place, a price point and promotional activity (in marketing terms, this is called the 4 Ps).
Apply this to yourself and think about your product or service i.e., when you work for an organisation as a finance professional, what do you do for them and what do you deliver?; think about your positioning i.e., what is your value proposition and key strengths that you want to build you career around?; think about what you want to get paid; and think about how you are going to communicate all this to the job market i.e. the promotion.
Bringing this all together, it’s really just a question of defining your skills and strengths, deciding how you want to position those skills and strengths and then communicating your worth through your CV/resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter and interview technique.
Your off and online persona
Statistically, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates and 57% are less likely to contact applicants with no online presence. There’s no escaping how important your online persona is! Couple this with what you communicate through your CV/resume and cover letter, and how people perceive you when they meet the real you, and we get your personal brand.
The key points
- Identify your key skills and areas of expertise
- Decide what kind of role your skills and expertise are best suited to
- Define your value proposition i.e. the value you are proposing to offer to a future employer
- Work out how you are going to position your value proposition, skills and expertise
- Write your CV/resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter in a way that promotes these points
- Develop your interview technique so you can talk freely about yourself
- Make sure that any public posts on social media are positive and consistent with your personal brand
And following on from what Jeff Bezos said, do everything you can to make sure people talk about you in the right way when you are not in the room.
Progress to thought leadership
Once you have mastered the art of personal branding, and as you start to become more senior in your career, you can start developing a thought-leadership strategy. This is a slow and deliberate plan to position yourself as the expert in your profession / industry sector; it is a powerful strategy to raise your industry profile and improve your career prospects.
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