Image credit: Daniel Cheung
Going into this week as someone seeking employment, I’m keen to reap as much value from the content as I can.
In the last two months, I’ve produced multiple iterations of my CV. One of the more recent additions is a link to my about page. There, I’ve showcased some of my work (including my RI artefacts). I’ve also led with my key skills, and given a concise rundown of my employment history. According to the RealWORKS Art of the approach course, my CV is of the ‘technical CV’ variety. A happy accident.
To keep my word count down – and not bore a potential employer – I’ve included the icons for the software I am familiar with in a banner. Aesthetically, I think it’s quite pleasing. It makes me feel like a pokemon trainer flaunting my gym badges… but it’s not application tracking system (ATS) friendly. I’ll rethink the banner in my next iteration.
At the top of the document, I’ve included the tagline “enthusiastic, ambitious, assertive“. Whenever I’m asked to give an elevator pitch of myself, that’s where I tend to start. That’s really all the thought I’ve given to my personal branding. Before this week, I hadn’t even considered the difference between brand and branding.
According to Train of Thought, your brand describes who you are and what you do. Your brand is presented in your visual identity, verbal dialog, tone of actions and any marketing efforts. It is how your clients identify and remember you (Hobkirk, 2012).
Hobkirk describes branding as the act of creating a brand. The branding process includes positioning yourself (or your company) to fill a niche in the market, creating verbal and visual identities (i.e. your brand name and logo), and writing brand messaging. Branding is essentially about setting a standard to keep your brand consistent and strong.
Goldie Chan, 2018, covered her ten golden rules for personal branding in an article for Forbes. The entire post was an interesting read, but points two, three, and six resonated with me. Respectively, they were: be genuine, tell a story, and create a positive impact. I realised, from these three points, that my personality could translate into my brand.
In every workplace that I have been part of, I have gained a reputation as someone who motivates and raises morale – somewhat akin to an office labrador, people look forward to coming into the office and interacting with me, and I with them. Even in this course, I think I’ve gained repute as comic relief, stealing the spotlight from Jamie and Giovanni during the webinars and getting picked to answer the tougher questions as a consequence. The notion that I could harness that aspect of my personality, as opposed to brewing up some other professional employability persona, relieves an anxiety that I didn’t know I had.
Another of Goldie’s points was to follow a successful example. Doing exactly that, I took a look at her website and social media pages. From there, I have created a set of SMART goals to overhaul my personal branding in the new year. Here they are:
- To help me form a collaborative community around my social media presence, I will review my connections on LinkedIn. During the break period in January, I will remove connections with people from outside of the industry, immediately connect with my coursemates, and request to connect with professionals that I have cited in this module. Moving forward, I will be more attentive to who I accept connection requests from, so my feed will stay populated with relevant content.
- To diversify my social media presence and showcase more of my work, I will decide on a strategy for regular content on Instagram. Before the start of the next module (25th January, 2021) I will draft a weekly post schedule, including varied content types. I will implement the schedule throughout the next module.
- To interact with more of the academic and industrial tech communities, I will create a Twitter account, branded consistently with my LinkedIn and Instagram page. During the break period in January, I will connect with my coursemates and other notable figures in the community. I will primarily use Twitter to share and engage with other individual’s content rather than create my own.
In line with the guidance on RealWORKS, I have two goals to boost my employability:
- To boost my visual and verbal identity, I will separate my portfolio from my ‘about page’. During the January break, I will revise the copy on my about page to include my professional values and set a tone for my brand messaging. I will move my portfolio to a page of its own, with appropriate context-setting copy for consistent branding.
- To help present my best work to potential employers, I will cover a notable item in my portfolio (RI2) in greater depth. During the January break, I will write a case study of RI2, to be included on my portfolio page. I will summarise the specific challenges from ideation to final delivery and include images of each phase.
I hope that completing these actions will coalesce my brand, showcasing my personability, industry experience, and creative skills.
CHAN, G. 2018. ‘10 Golden Rules Of Personal Branding’. Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/goldiechan/2018/11/08/10-golden-rules-personal-branding [accessed 22/12/2020].
CHAN, G. 2020. ‘Goldie Chan – Speaker. Founder. LinkedIn Influencer’. Available at: https://www.goldiechan.com [accessed 22/12/2020].
HOBKIRK, K. 2012. ‘The important differences between brands and branding’. Train of Thought [online]. Available at: https://trainofthought.net/branding/the-differences-between-brands-and-branding-355 [accessed 22/12/2020].
RealWORKs. ‘What type of CV do I need?’. The art of the approach. [course content]. Available at: https://realworks.careercentre.me/resources/elearning/hub.aspx [accessed 22/12/2020].
RealWORKs. ‘Who uses ATSs & how to spot them’. The art of the approach. [course content]. Available at: https://realworks.careercentre.me/resources/elearning/hub.aspx [accessed 22/12/2020].