Networking builds substantive relationships with others while discussing common interests, skills and abilities. It is also a great way to get your foot in the door at a company. Many companies fill positions with internal candidates or ones recommended by employees. When there are hundreds of people competing for one position, knowing the right person can make all the difference. With a little luck, someone you know (or someone you meet) may be the key to finding and landing the perfect job. They can offer advice and information, provide introductions and share news of opportunities. Networking can happen anywhere and at anytime and should not be one-sided but mutually beneficial to all involved.
Who Is In Your Network?
Your network is bigger than you may think, and helpful resources are often hiding in plain sight.
- Friends and Family
- High School/College Classmates, Principals, and Teachers
- College Alumni and Professors
- Members of Professional Organizations, Fraternities, and Sororities
- Social and Sports Club Attendees
- Doctor, Dentist, Ophthalmologist, or Coach
- Insurance agent, next-door neighbor, hairdresser/barber, and bank teller
- There are lots more, so be creative!
How Do You Build Your Personal Brand?
Creating and building your personal brand can help with obtaining a position or advancing your career. LinkedIn is a great platform to begin building your online brand and allows you to promote your work experience, skills, and abilities for employers to review. You can also connect with thousands of people who may have open positions or be able to connect you to others with job opportunities. Lastly, you can post information to the newsfeed that showcases your interests or accomplishments.
Continue building your online brand through other social media and take time to google your name to see what pops up. If anything negative appears, work to fix it and highlight your positive attributes. Another way to think about your personal brand is to consider what others say about you when you are not present. How others perceive you is key to knowing how to improve or continue building your brand.
To help you get started, here are some tips to creating your personal brand. The information below is based on an article in Forbes.
1. Be focused: It is important to create a consistent message and build upon it. Maintaining focus on your targeted goals will make it easier to create content supporting your personal brand. The more focused your brand is the easier it will be for people to remember who you are and what you are about.
2. Be genuine: Being authentic will help you build trust with those around you and help develop a positive professional reputation that will in turn help you build the personal brand you desire.
3. Tell a story: Create a story around your brand and engage with your audience. In addition to written content, consider videos as well.
4. Be consistent: Consistency is key to creating your personal brand and helps others gain a clear understanding of who you are and what your goals are. A consistent message or visual image can also help create something that others will associate with you and your brand creating brand identity.
5. Be ready to fail: Timothy Hoang, CEO of Stories By Tim, Inc. tells clients “You’ll never achieve the best branding until you fail a couple times while pushing past your comfort zone.” Successful brands are the result of trial and error, not from instant perfection.
6. Create a positive impact: Remember who you are and what you stand for. Keep in mind that your actions impact others so keep it positive.
7. Follow a successful example: Be aware of current trends and study analytics to anticipate future trends and find ways to incorporate these into your platforms to increase engagement with your audience.
8. Live your brand. This concept goes hand in hand with being genuine. Tim Salau, founder of Mentors & Mentees, believes that “your personal brand should follow you everywhere you go. It needs to be an authentic manifestation of who you are and amplify what you believe.” Your personal brand is not only a reflection of skills or job titles, but also your attitude about giving back to others and transformative leadership.
9. Let other people tell your story: The best PR is by word of mouth.
10. Leave a legacy: Don’t forget to consider the big picture. Once your personal brand is in place the next step is to think about the legacy you want to leave behind. What do you want to be known for? A personal brand is a lifelong project that constantly evolves and changes.
Creating the right personal brand will not only help you be known in your field and consistently land work but it could be the difference between “Who are you?” and “Thank you for being here” in your career.