Why managing your personal brand is critical to your career

Just ten years ago, the concept of personal branding seemed somewhat novel. Today, the reality is that your digital footprint can be a key competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded and difficult-to-manage talent market.

Article by James Hudson for Forbes US – translated by Lisa Deleforterie

Reframing your digital presence as an investment in your career can be a useful first step in building long-term professional value.

LinkedIn is redefining the rules

Historically, building a valuable professional network has been reserved for elite institutions, alumni groups, professional organizations and private clubs. This situation resulted in the maintenance of structural and systemic inequalities.

LinkedIn, with its stated goal of “creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” has transformed this reality. LinkedIn's mission is simple: to connect professionals around the world to be more productive and successful.

Perhaps more than any other technological advancement, LinkedIn's billion members have truly leveled the playing field for all professionals, regardless of background or demographic. LinkedIn gives you unparalleled visibility and insight into leaders within your organization and in your industry. The focus on content and feed makes it easy to join the conversation.

When you move to creating your own content, LinkedIn allows you to position yourself as a leader in your industry, which can open up new opportunities within your company or elsewhere.

Managing your personal brand is no longer the responsibility of senior executives

At the management level, the way you communicate, and therefore how you are perceived, is a key part of the job. Communications staff in this type of role spend approximately 75% of their time managing internal communications and 25% managing external communications, which perfectly illustrates the importance of managing your brand image. As you get bigger, companies will pay people to do it for you.

Wherever you are in the company hierarchy and whatever your aspirations, starting to take ownership of your professional brand is a wise investment of time and effort. If you're not sure where to start creating professional content on LinkedIn, their simple framework is helpful:

  • Why this?
  • Why me ?
  • Why now?

This box helps you answer the following questions: “Is this content contributing to the conversation/useful?” “, “How does my experience qualify me to speak about this? and “Is it timely or newsworthy?” » At a minimum, you should be able to answer the first two questions, and when you answer the third question, it will help broaden your scope.

Building your professional brand has a network effect

If you put time and effort into your professional branding, your network (connections and people who follow you on LinkedIn) will expand significantly. This process creates a ripple effect: by creating content that sparks conversation, you increase your follower base, and the more followers you have, the more reach your content has. Additionally, while you may not need it right away, having a large network of connections will be very helpful the next time you're looking for a job:

The talent market is so crowded that a simple online application is often no longer enough to attract attention to your application. Most large companies have a fast process for employee referrals, so a large network will definitely pay off in the future.

Companies now see their digital presence as a major asset

Mr. Jonsson believes that in the era of earned media, leading companies are those that empower, encourage and highlight employees who become brand ambassadors. He is also keenly aware that “the talent landscape is changing. You no longer stand out with your degree, excellent results or a few logos appearing on your resume. Thousands of people look like you. Today, the real difference is your online business, the foundation of your personal brand.”

He adds that investing in building a personal brand will be a key differentiator in hiring decisions now and in the future: “If you look at two candidates who are equally capable, but one of them has gained notoriety online by creating consistent content, , and therefore can reach thousands or even millions of people, who would you hire? For most people, the answer is obvious. A person who creates online content and has built an audience can reinforce your company's culture and values ​​and be a great ambassador for your brand from day one. »

Considering the many benefits that a well-designed personal brand can bring to your career, the question that really arises is: why not invest your time in creating a truly engaging brand?

Andreas Jonsson is the CEO of Shield, a tool that helps companies such as Atlassian, Intel and Rolls-Royce aggregate and monitor the social activity of their employees: “We found that modern companies, regardless of their industry, activity, are alive and active with programs ambassadors, but had no way to track and measure their LinkedIn activity… We take the guesswork out of LinkedIn and empower companies and their employees to reap the significant benefits of organic content. Content that authentically highlights values, culture, expertise and more. The benefits are many , from brand awareness, to attracting talent and customers, to creating serendipitous opportunities at scale.”

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