How to build your personal brand in 2021

Posted: 17 February 2021 5:27 pm

Want to get ahead in your career? Entrepreneur and marketer Sharon Williams explains why your personal brand could be the key to success.

The pandemic has led to unexpected job losses, lifestyle and geographical changes that have put careers and lives into disarray. These situations can be stressful and emotional, but they can also be an opportunity for reflection and a new start.

Taking those first steps can be hard for anyone looking to reinvent themselves and find a new job. But one step you can take at any time is to look at your personal brand.

Why? Because a well-defined personal brand attracts others to you, helps others ''get'' you instantly and creates a clear picture of what they are likely to experience if they interact with you. It can also give you confidence to ''carry on'', a strong sense of identity and an easier decision-making framework.

As someone who has been in business for over 25 years and started life afresh in 3 different continents (with a few curve balls thrown along the way), I've experienced first-hand the impact and success from focus on a well-defined personal brand.

Through COVID-19 we've seen a stark shift, with less face-to-face time and fewer opportunities to establish that ''essence'' and ''feel'' when you meet someone in-person. As we've moved more online, the significance of your very own digital resume is even more important to review and get right.

Let's do a quick check on your online presence right now. Does it:

  • Accurately reflect the skills you have that are relevant to the new norm?
  • Offer insights into the empathy needed given the state of the world right now?
  • Showcase your skills and abilities in different types of workplaces, using language and phrases that have emerged post-COVID-19?
  • Increase your employability and marketability in 2021?

The next step is to strengthen your answers to these questions so that you have the best version of yourself online. You can take action now with these three tasks:

1. Check your online presence by doing a cold Google search

By searching your name on Google, you can see how others are viewing you. Are you happy with what comes up? If so, great. If not, it's time for a change. Who or what else pops up? Edit your social media sites so they are up-to-date. Make sure personal and professional information is cleaned up to accurately reflect who you are now, post-COVID-19. Don't forget the power of blogging or posting to increase your expertise and build thought leadership within your industry, whether it's on your own website, LinkedIn or another platform that fits with your industry.

2. Build your digital resume

To increase clarity, use the keywords that reflect your experience and who you are. By adding these to your profiles you will attract the future you are aiming for. Here are some prompts to help you get started:

  • Be objective about what's online. Does your current personal brand truly reflect your core values and what you are looking for?
  • Check your LinkedIn profile. Is it complete? Updated? Have you expressed your key messages? Have you added all your skills? And connected with industry influencers and leaders? Check in with what it and other social media accounts reveal about you.
  • Review your photo (or photos). Are your public photos relevant and professional? If not, organise new ones that will look as professional and on-brand as possible. Remember: A picture says a thousand words – in this case, about you.

3. Start creating content

Build your personal brand by creating a stream of blog posts or commentary to showcase your knowledge, abilities and opinions. If blogging is not your speciality, try focusing on creating other content for your social sites that is industry-relevant, consistent and meaningful so that it increases viewer engagement and strongly demonstrates who you are.

What else can you do to support your own personal brand growth?

  • Actively search for and follow industry blogs, news sites and persons of interest to keep up-to-date on industry trends and updates.
  • When posting content, try using hashtags to reflect your core values and skills – that way you can locate like-minded people.
  • Use Facebook to link you to potential connections. For example, by typing key words such as "human resources" into the search box, you will be shown a selection of HR-related pages.

You can use these steps to check on your branding at any time and make changes that fit with your career goals. And remember: there may be many people in the talent pool, but there is only one of you.

Podcast: Career planning in the time of coronavirus

Sharon Williams is a public speaker, CEO, entrepreneur, media commentator, international marketer, editorial contributor and founder of The Taurus Group. She was named in The Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs for 2019. Sharon's global knowledge and experience with entrepreneurs is an unbeatable combination and she has been reinventing brands for over 25 years.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article (which may be subject to change without notice) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Finder and its employees. The information contained in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort. Neither the author nor Finder has taken into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before making any further decisions based on this information.

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Image credits: Getty Images, Supplied (Sharon Williams)

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