The terms personal branding and thought leadership get thrown about on a regular basis, writes Matt Craven of CVIA Careers, but what do they really mean and how can accountancy job seekers harness them as a tool for raising their profile and attracting the right career opportunities?
Personal branding is all about controlling the way people perceive you and managing your own PR. It’s really no different from company branding – companies have a brand identity and market position. Apply this to yourself and think about your brand and how you want the external market to perceive you.
Be the expert
Now that we have addressed personal branding, let’s have a look at thought leadership. Thought leadership is one of your key pillars for developing your market positioning and controlling the way people perceive you.
The key is to present yourself as an expert in your field. Most people hide under a rock, so if you are the one that gets out there, writing articles and blogs, being interviewed for industry pieces, delivering webinars and presentations, or contributing to industry groups, then people will gravitate towards you and see you as the expert or the go-to person in your sector.
Blueprinting is all about turning your expertise into something tangible – is there a system, process, framework, or methodology that you have developed? This is what we call your personal intellectual property. The first stage of thought leadership is identifying this intellectual property, so think about those systems, processes, frameworks, or methodologies that you have created or evolved that might be useful to someone else.
Once you’ve identified what this intellectual property is, you need to clearly define it in a way that another person could quickly grasp and understand – simply writing down a description of your system, process, framework or methodology is a good start, creating a nice infographic or process map would be the next step and most importantly, give it a name. This could be an acronym or the 5-point plan to xyz but giving something a name gives it life.
Spread the word
The next step is to go out and spread the word about this blueprint. Talk about how your blueprint will help someone else to be more efficient or successful. Apply a little-and-often approach to writing blogs and articles, running webinars and participating in groups and forums.
LinkedIn is a great place to start – join groups and build a network of key people around you and at every opportunity, interact with them as the ‘expert’ in your field. Pretty soon, you become the ‘go-to' person in your area of expertise and the next time an organization has a need for this expertise, guess who they come calling for?!
I would recommend webinars as a key part of your thought leadership strategy – put in the most simplistic way, all you need to do is pick a topic that you have expertise in (that ties in with your career goals), create a presentation, invite an audience, deliver your presentation and incorporate a call to action to develop and nurture relationships with those people that were interested in your expertise.
Your landing page
Of course, presenting yourself as a thought-leader and expert means people will start checking you out on LinkedIn, so having a poorly written ‘home-made’ LinkedIn profile isn’t going to cut the mustard.
It’s crucial that your profile presents your professional worth and personal brand in the right way and writing a compelling LinkedIn profile requires an awful lot more than just writing some nice words.
Sign up today to access a free LinkedIn profile writing guide in the Association Global Career Hub or if you are interested in having a free 1-2-1 evaluation of your LinkedIn profile, feel free to email the CVIA Careers team.
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