How having a strong personal brand can give you the edge in the job market
As more and more people join the legal profession each year, competition for jobs is becoming even more intense. Which means that you need to work hard at ensuring your personal ‘brand’ is an attractive proposition for all would-be employers.
No one enters the profession at the top; we all have to start at a certain point. To move from point A to point B is as much to do with our technical skills (legal knowledge and acumen) as our ability to seduce (figuratively speaking of course) a superior with our soft skills (personality, relationship building).
However, knowing how to effectively bottle and mix these two elements together to create a strong personal brand employers will find attractive, is perhaps easier said than done. But we can help you.
Here are five highly effective key ways to build a personal brand that get’s the attention of recruiters and employers alike.
1 Think of yourself as ‘Brand Me’
What do you want people, clients and colleagues to think of you when they hear your name? Are you looking to be considered an expert in your field or associated with certain skills and qualities, such as being someone who gets things done and achieves positive outcomes in challenging conditions?
Your personal brand needs to be a reflection of your true self. So consider what is most important to you when it comes to your career, what your strengths and weaknesses are and the qualities that you want to be most associated with.
2 Go digital (but trace your steps)
Around 92% (source: AVG) of infants under the age of two already have a digital footprint, so think about how much content may be on the web about you! Add the fact that an estimated 3 in 4 hiring managers check out a candidate online before they are interviewed, and you realise how important it is to ensure that the information held online about you is what you would want people to see.
Google yourself to see what comes up, but also see if you are actually easy to find on search engines in the first place. Do you have a fairly common name that leaves you languishing several pages back from the initial results page, such as John or Jane Smith? If that is the case then consider using a middle name or initial à la our American cousins, such as John Andrew Smith or Jane AP Smith.
Your name is your intellectual property, so make sure that you are ‘discoverable’ online and that you keep track of what is being said about you by setting up Google alerts.
3 Get ‘out there’
There are so many different opportunities to raise your personal brand online, not least via social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter and through blogging. Social media is a key tool in the search box for recruiters as it helps us to see who are the key influencers and players within a specific field, such as litigation or property law.
Regularly posting and sharing content that is valuable and interesting via your social media profiles enables you to take control of your digital footprint. It also helps you to raise your profile as someone who has a finger on the pulse of what is happening in your specific field. This in turn can increase your status as a candidate of choice for any key assignments a recruiter may be working on right now.
4 Add value to the conversation
Thought leadership works at its best when it addresses the needs of the audience you want to engage. So think about what is happening in your specific area of expertise and offer a solution to a common problem.
There are a number of excellent self-build websites that are easy to use and relatively inexpensive (and simple too!) to set up. So you could create your own site and blog page where you can host your own thought leadership articles and other content.
But there are other options open to you, such as LinkedIn’s own publishing platform. This provides you with the opportunity to upload your blog posts under your own LinkedIn profile where that can be viewed and shared across your existing connections.
5 Network, network, network
In order to publicise your brand, you will need to relevant attend events and engage with key ‘influencers’ via social media – influencers such as colleagues (past and present), key sector groups and recruitment firms like us who specialise in the type of roles that you are looking for next in your career.
Building up your personal brand won’t happen over night, it takes time but the return on that time investment will yield satisfactory rewards for you and your career.
We are here to help, so if you need advice on how best to improve your chances of job success please do not hesitate to contact us.