Everyone has a personal brand, but are you using and controlling yours? Personal branding is a relatively new concept, but it has become essential in our digital age.

At a time when competition between candidates is at its highest for over a decade, with dozens if not more people vying for the same job, constructing a brand for yourself allows you to stand out and get the attention of those employers you want to work for.

Your personal brand is how you present yourself to the world. It is a way of marketing your skills and experiences, along with your performance and interactions with others in a way that demonstrates the difference you can make to an organisation.

Indeed, recruitment is a transaction of sorts – there is a buyer (‘employer’) and seller ‘(candidate’). The former will want to know what return they are likely to get on their investment in you, while the latter’s role is to show it will be an investment which will pay dividends. This is where the strength of one’s personal brand really comes into play.

So, where to start?

Redefine your online presence

What comes up when you Google your name? Is it old university Facebook posts, or is it your LinkedIn profile? A survey by CareerBuilder found that 70 per cent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. An unprofessional online presence poorly represents your personal brand. So, take time to tidy up your online accounts.

If you already have social media accounts, make sure there is nothing on there you wouldn’t want your current or a future employer to see. Once your accounts are clean and professional, you can use them to promote your personal brand. Interactions on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram can help you reach a wider audience and be a highly effective way of communicating your brand.

Create an online portfolio

A LinkedIn profile is an easy way to communicate your portfolio clearly, but you can go one step further and create a website. A personal website or blog is a highly effective platform to showcase your skills and experience. Gather testimonials and consider writing blog posts related to your industry and niche. Blog posts help you become visible to potential employers and showcase your skills as a thought leader.

Online portfolios allow future employers an easy insight into your best work. Clear communication of who you are and what you do enables you to stand out from the competition. Just ensure all your content remains up to date and correct.

Think of your audience

Identify your primary audience and consider what content would engage them. Publishing relevant and compelling content will help build relationships with your audience.

For example, suppose you’re looking to move into a more senior estates surveyor role, what would pique the interest of hiring managers recruiting in that discipline? Think about the publications and websites which serve that sector and share the latest news or articles that are relevant to your target audience.

This is a highly effective way of raising your online brand because it shows you have your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your sector, and it is a highly effective form of virtual networking too.

Be consistent

Be consistent with what you share. Everything you share online contributes to your personal brand, so posting and sharing content frequently is key. Effective and consistent branding clearly communicates who you are and enables you to stand out from the competition.

Create a logo and branding that can be used throughout your online presence and keep your tone of voice consistent. Effective personal branding allows you to build trust with prospect employer and clients.