Now more than ever it is imperative that any professional has a personal career brand. It is no longer, just do your job and update your resume. The average person will have in between 7-10 jobs in his lifetime. You must actively manage your career to find the next job; hence, the importance of creating and maintaining a stellar personal career brand. The three Cs necessary towards creating your best personal brand are clarity, consistency, and constancy. The combination of these three guarantees that you’ll attract the people and employers in your target market.
Dictionary.com defines clarity as ‘clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.’ It is essential that you get clear about who you are, but, more importantly, who you ARE NOT. Clarity provides you with an opportunity to thrive as a specialist rather than merely survive as a generalist. It is better to know what you are not because you create clear boundaries. You don’t want to transmit mixed messages, thereby, diluting your brand. Clarity communicates a clear message of what you do. For example, if you are in HR, you don’t want people coming to you about sales & marketing. The next step is to identify your competitors.
Scanning the professional landscape to see what your competitors are doing, and more importantly, are not doing is critical towards how you’ll position yourself to stand out. Learn from your competitors’ mistakes and capitalize upon the areas that they aren’t already in. Being the first mover in an unsaturated area, lets you become an expert. For instance, if you’re in HR but there aren’t as many people working with newly returned war veterans, then this is a niche where you can employ your transferable skills and become an expert. Once you’ve used clarity to identify your competitors, you can then you can focus on marketing your competitive advantage to the world.
Your competitive advantage is the one thing that you do better than anyone else. Having a clear definition of this advantage will attract more people and opportunities. In HR, you do compile benefits packages in a way that new employee understand? Your ability to translate industry-specific jargon into layman’s terms without diluting its content is your competitive advantage. You can convert this into a special niche being seen as an expert. Once you’re seen as an expert, more people will come to you. The next C is consistency.
The word consistency is defined as ‘steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.’ In order to keep current in this increasingly global and competitive landscape, you must be consistent. This means consistently communicating the same message offline and online. Take some time to review how your professional brand comes across these two sectors because it’s imperative that you are consistent in both areas.
Make sure that your resume and LinkedIn profile are the same. If you’ve attained a new certification or a promotion, list them on both your resume and LinkedIn. An outdated LinkedIn profile creates inconsistent messaging. If you’ve been promoted from HR Specialist to Senior HR Specialist, you must list this change on both documents. Recruiters who might be interested in you for one job, may not know that you have a new job or certification. It would be bad for your professional reputation if a recruiter contacts you about a specific position but learns that you’re in another position. Recruiters talk with other recruiters who work at the company that interests you. You don’t want this kind of mistake to precede you before applying for a job. Putting the most recent information on your LinkedIn page guarantees that recruiters can see if you are the best fit for a potential job. The next C is constancy.
Finally, constancy is defined as ‘uniformity or regularity, as in qualities or conditions; invariableness.’ Being highly visible online & offline to your target market is indispensable in today’s marketplace. There are many ways to increase your visibility to ensure that the right people see your talents. Offline opportunities include joining meetups, alumni chapters, and professional organizations. In addition, you can be visible through business cards and stationery. Handing out your personal business cards is an effective marketing tool generating high visibility. Furthermore, you can send thank you letters using your own stationery. Regarding online visibility opportunities, you can register for LinkedIn professional groups, follow people on Twitter or like Facebook pages of companies of which you want to work. Moreover, you can also start a blog. For HR, you can write about interviewing new applicants, dispensing benefits information, handling attrition and completing retirement packages. A great way to merge the offline and online visibility tools to achieve constancy is by creating a communications plan.
Implement a communications plan where you consistently brand your message. Your plan manages how, what, why, when, and where to deploy your offline and online strategies. For instance, you decide to post one HR-related article in your LinkedIn feed. This daily task keeps your profile active attracting employers and recruiters. The important thing here is to stay consistent. Your communications plan ensures that you regularly do something constructive towards promoting your personal career brand. Incorporating three Cs of clarity, consistency and constancy guarantee increased demand for your personal career brand.