Ah millennial culture! From memes to meandering the murky waters of job hunting, millennials trudge through it all with fierce determination. But in a crowd where being #hipster is all the rage, how do you punch your way through the competitive millennial workforce to emerge victorious? Well, welcome to the ultimate personal branding guide, from one millenial to another. Granted, social media and the Internet has brought millennials even closer to one another, but what’s the use of staring at your picture perfect feed for hours if you’re not putting it to good use? So fasten your seatbelts as we take you through the motion of personal branding!
Build your personal brand
Sure, everyone knows Gucci and Chanel, but those are big brands. How about your personal branding? You might be thinking: Is this even important, why can’t I just turn up armed with a well-designed resume and snatch the job? Well the truth is, your employers will judge you based on what they’ve already found on the internet. (Yes, they’ve seen that embarrassing drunk post from 2 years ago.)
Figuring out your personal brand
Your personal brand is iconic and one of a kind, just like you. To create your personal brand, you have to look into yourself and find out what your niche and talents are. Draft up a list of industries and areas you’re passionate in.
The most important step to this is forming a personal brand statement. Not longer than one or two sentences, personal brand statements help potential employers and colleagues identify you. Are you humourous and bubbly? Deadly obsessive over organising your work to the T? Also, know the industry you’re trying to break into. Organise a list of your best traits and find out what you want to be best known for.
For example, if you love creating and seeing work come to life, you could describe yourself as creative. The first step to personal branding is to know yourself! Next, tailor your personal brand statement towards the audience you’re targeting. Which industry are you looking to pursue a career in? What is the tone of that industry? Lastly, make it authentic and memorable, and that’s where the spark comes in!
If you already have a personal brand and it isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to rebrand yourself, like how Gary Vaynerchuk did. The steps are the same! Take some time out of your busy schedule and think about how your brand or passions have changed, and what you’re currently gunning for. A strong re-branding can help attract employers to you, just like bees to honey!
Up your social media game
What’s all that screen-tapping for if you aren’t tapping on these channels to boost your personal brand? Nowadays, every article, picture and video that you repost, reblog or retweet will make an impact on your personal brand. So, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram, here are five tips on how to up your social media brand and take your personal branding to a whole new level.
Five tips for an insane social media presence
- Post quality pictures or videos—No one wants to see a badly edited photo on their instagram feed, especially when pretty pictures are all the rage! Post content that is synonymous with your personal brand, and people will start to see parts of you piercing right through them. Since Instagram is also a market for jobs and opportunities, then you’ve got to #SELLYOURSELF!
- Consistency is key— We all know ghosting is a big deal, so don’t do that. Consistency is key in gaining a strong following and response. Post at least twice or thrice a day to beef up your social media presence, it only takes five seconds. This will not only help you along your personal branding journey, but seriously show your enthusiasm in the industry, and might turn a few heads.
- Clean up your feed—We’ve already mentioned how your potential employers will definitely look you up on Google. If you’ve had your girl’s night out pictures plastered all over a certain club’s photo spread, it’ll be wise to at least set several albums to private. Cleaning up your social media profile is essential to your journey as a working millennial.
- Get endorsed—Whether it’s painting or Excel, get endorsed! This is extremely important in the world of LinkedIn, where endorsed skills can push your profile to appear more frequently in searches. Listing your skills will help a ton in your personal branding adventure. We wouldn’t want your profile to go by going completely unnoticed by a possible dream company, would we?
- Respond to it all—Whether it’s job offers, a friend’s post, or just a comment on your photo, reply to it. Responding to these comments helps you to boost relations with your network, and also creates windows for new ones to blossom.
Bear in mind that other than your usual social media channels, there are specific communities you could join as well. Websites such as Dribbble and Github link millennials up with one another in specific fields like software development and design. Meeting people from these communities might open some doors for partnerships and even land you a job.
Establish your authority in the industry
The best way to do this is by blogging! Tons of millennials out there have a personal blog they use to express opinions about the industry their in, or certain topics they are interested in. Keep in mind that personal branding is, ironically, very relationship-based. Building your brand around your niche comes from mixing with others from your industry and beyond. If you’re going to blast off to industry stardom, start the conversation about your interests and work from there.
But you might be confused on how to post frequently. With you being a busy bee, you hardly have time to sit down, let alone write a whole post. On most blogging sites such as WordPress, you’ll be able to schedule your posts. So even if you’re caught up at work or on holiday, your posts will still be queued and ready to go. After all, consistency is key, right?
Start small and climb your way up
Don’t know where to start? Sometimes searching through your network and connecting with like-minded people can help to spearhead this personal branding journey! If you’re a little queasy about starting your own blog, try your hand at guest blogging on sites such as Medium. Several millennial blogs (even us!) sometimes have calls for guest posts, so keep a look out for those. Gaining the traction to start your own blog might be tough, but let your personality shine through!
Another interesting way you can put yourself out there is through speaking at events. We all know that public speaking can give you insane butterflies in your stomach but don’t worry. The best way to speak at an event, is giving the audience something to talk about. By speaking about your own interests and passions, you’ll be able to connect with those who share the same stories and feelings.
Constructing a personal website
Once you have concrete knowledge of yourself and your strengths, it’s time to jazz your brand up with a personal website! Gone are the days of business cards.These days it’s all about building a sleek website. Sharing your personal brand these days is 10 times more effective with technology, so start putting out content that is relevant to your industry and your target audience. Once you’ve decided on the angle and tone of your voice, the writing will come a little easier.
It’s okay if you aren’t a stellar UX/UI designer. You don’t have to be (but you can learn it yourself!). Making your own spectacular site is very easy and often free. Simply start by getting your own domain and hosting site, and search for a good theme that suits your niche.
Tip: Make sure that the design of the website reflects your voice and style! If you’re going for a serious tone or voice, don’t decorate your website with bokeh and gifs. A personal website will need the help of an engaging tone of voice, and the right blend of aesthetic to attract your target audience. If you don’t have a knack for design, keep it simple. Minimalism is a timeless trait that most millennials and working adults vibe with.
When your website is up and running, link it to all of your existing social media channels. Blast it on your Facebook wall, on your LinkedIn page, and add it to your Instagram bio!
Be a kickass networker offline and online
Personal Branding Online
These days, the fastest way to make new friends is through the internet. Millennials connect at lightning speeds through the web on sites such as LinkedIn. But for those who are a little lost, how exactly do you network on LinkedIn?
Start by connecting with people you already know. From there, you can then expand your circle to those who are one or two degrees away. Don’t be afraid to connect with strangers who have similar interests and niches as you, you never know what might come out of a casual conversation. If you’re looking to broaden your network even more, dive headfirst into a LinkedIn group. Millennials (Generation Y) is just one of these insane groups that help millennials connect and share stories.
Attending networking events by yourself can be a little daunting, but don’t fret. The best way to make the most of a networking event is to ask yourself what you want from the event. Is it to meet at least five new people, or to search for a job opportunity? After you’ve got that down, make a good introduction. You have to first know yourself, so recall what exactly your personal brand is, and expand from there. When you’re in a conversation with someone, be friendly and enthusiastic.
Body language is extremely important when meeting new people. If you don’t have anything to say, smiling or nodding can also show that you’re interested in the conversation.
After the networking event, make sure to follow up with your new connections. Drop them a note on LinkedIn or send an email to let the other party know how great it was to meet them. Small acts like these could potentially form long-lasting connections, so don’t skip on the pleasantries.
Go, be yourself
Number one tip: Never emulate someone else. Your personal brand is something that has to be entirely your own. Standing out from the crowd might be hard, but who wants to just be someone else’s shadow, when you can be your own light.
Whether it’s the tone of voice in writing or the design of your site, be authentic. That’s exactly what your personal brand showcases—originality.
There’s a lot of advice out there about personal branding, but it’s extremely dynamic. Honestly, there isn’t a sure fire way to guarantee that your personal brand is exactly what you embody. As you, a millennial, changes, this brand will evolve with you. So just go forth and let your personality shine through!