Approximately 4 millions people are currently facing a difficult situation in Spain: unemployment. These people are, in the vast majority, young people under 30 years of age and, given their situation, they are desperate, worried and pressed for time. They face a precarious labor market, the worst working conditions and a very high level of competition.
This interview aims to create a small guide of ideas to develop the personal branding and to help those people who are waiting (waiting for a job interview, a new opportunity, a response to a job offer …). And especially to those people who know that the personal brand represents an advantage and differentiation within the labor market and who are willing to work on it and develop it.
Is there a difference between developing a personal brand for someone who wants to anticipate the need to find work and for someone who is actively looking for work?
Personal brands need time to be developed, therefore, it is very important that since you are studying you are already aware of the importance of having a brand. It’s hard to build a good brand when you have to do it really fast and you find yourself pressed for time. Even if things are going well in your career, you should always take care of your personal brand. It is a serious mistake to stop doing it because you have already found work and have to rebuild it when you need it.
I love the Tony Robbins‘s quote “People overestimate what they can achieve in short term and underestimate what they can achieve in the long term.” Your life will not change by making new contacts for 2 weeks. But it will change if you invest time in your contacts for months and years.
What would you advise people who want to develop their brand? What is the first thing to do?
One of the big failures of personal branding is starting with communication. Open a LinkedIn profile because you know it is necessary, but without knowing what you are going to say and how you want to position yourself. And many other examples of communication without prior analysis and strategy.
To start at the beginning, you need to know some basic principles about yourself: what are your talents, what are you good at. Like all people, you will have some things that you are very good at and some that you are not. Take time to define what makes you special.
How can self-knowledge be promoted?
Our Western culture does not promote these spaces of self-knowledge, introspection and inner analysis that are so necessary to be able to build the future we want.
As an exercise, you can reflect on the things that you were good at school, your greatest successes or stages in which you have had a rapid learning.
It is also important to define your motivations. Reflect on your professional career or your studies. Surely you will know how to identify the moments in which you have most enjoyed. Identify those things that have made you vibrate, the things that have made time fly by.
Connect all this concepts with what you knowledge and skills.
Now that you have these points on the table, you must connect them in order to add value to others. Nobody will hire you if you don’t help them solve a challenge or a problem.
How can you define the problem you are going to solve and how are you going to solve it?
Your main focus should be the problem you solve. But to understand how you can contribute to others, you must first be clear about who you are.
Now that you know what you can offer, you should know what you are looking for. To find something, you have to know what it is. This is often very difficult but setting a goal now doesn’t mean you won’t change it later. It does not have to be very exact either, but you have to be clear about the type of job you are looking for, the sectors or the type of company, etc.
One mistake I often see is a lack of strategy. Many people make decisions without being clear about where they are going. Improvisation doesn’t work. So, you have to spend time drawing an attack plan, follow it, control it and improve it based on the results, it is essential.
Only after going through these steps should you start with the visible part of personal branding: communication.
In the branding process, an essential element for the brand is the visual identity: logo, corporate colors, business card, website … Does a personal brand have to have a visual identity?
It is not essential. If what you want is to develop a professional activity as a freelance, you need a well-defined and strategic image. If what you want is to work for someone else, a powerful visual brand can help you, but it is not essential. But you need at least a professional email, a phone, a resume or your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn has a very prominent role in professional world. It’s a must taking part in this professional network. Professional profile photo, description, contact information, experience, contacts, all this information must be designed for the objective you have stablished. To stand out, add multimedia content to explain the achievements you have achieved, to detail your experience, the projects you have worked on or how the courses and studies have helped you. Your LinkedIn profile should be your portfolio and your business card. Increase your credibility, give greater transparency and increase your chances of being the chosen candidate.
Is it necessary to create content for LinkedIn?
Creating content is a plus. It is not essential, but recommended. You must have an opinion and criteria on the topics to be discussed and also know how to explain it. In addition, it is a great way to be relevant in the algorithms of Google, LinkedIn and also in your sector. It is useful and recommended to be a relevant person in your field and also to periodically update your profile.
An essential component of LinkedIn is networking. Contact professionals in the sector, friends, people with whom you have worked, follow the companies that interest you… Even if you don’t have many contacts, start conversations with professionals in your industry or people who work for the companies that interest you wisely and politely. Do not ask for favors from people who do not know you, but if you contact them in a personalized and sincere way, it is very likely that they will offer you advice or that you will at least have a conversation that will become a valuable contact for the future.
You don’t have to limit yourself to LinkedIn. Send an email, be active, don’t wait for them to look for you.
As head-hunter and head of your own company, have you observed some good practices in the actions of the best candidates?
As a good practice, the best candidates have always had great attitude. Most interviewers, by the time of the interview, have already verified your studies and your experience. What usually makes the difference between candidates is the attitude: the desire, the motivation, how polite you are, the punctuality, the personal image and other things. The ability to prepare for the interview is also very important. When you get to the interview, you should already know who is interviewing you, important information about the company, what is being sought from the person to be incorporated and the like.
Another important characteristic is sincerity. In a world where there is a lot of mistrust, you must have the courage to be honest and admit both your strengths and your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know how to do this, but I want to learn it.” It is infinitely better than saying that you already know how to do everything, which will generate mistrust and rejection.
Some bad practices to avoid are the ability to “get into problems.” There are 4 very dangerous topics in the professional sphere: sex, religion, politics and football. These are very sensitive issues that can greatly damage the vision of a professional. It is best to delete any information that may be about us related to these topics on Google or social networks. Another mistake is not taking care of your personal image, especially in the interview. There is only one chance to make a good first impression, so you have to work on it. This means going according to the interview and the company you want to impress.
How do we measure the success of our personal brand?
Success is something very subjective and individual. To know if our brand is successful, we must analyze if we are meeting our objectives. Pay attention to “vanity metrics” or indicators of vanity. 100 likes in a photo can be a satisfactory number, but you must ensure that the actions you undertake to build your personal brand are really useful to achieve your goals: earn more money, have more free time, have a position of more responsibility or others…
My advice in this case is not to stop after self-knowledge phase. The most important thing is how to use what we have discovered about ourselves to add value to others.
In your career as a mentor and personal branding consultant, what have your clients found most difficult?
One of the big problems that people I meet is that they have no idea who they are, what they like and what they want. And it is not something that happens only to young people who have just finished university. It is also something that happens to great professionals in their sector. Our Western culture does not promote these spaces of self-knowledge, introspection and inner analysis that are so necessary to be able to build the future we want.