Jul 9, 2018

Building Brand You – How to Market Yourself Effectively

Morgan Cummins, Head of Performance at TalentHub recruitment agency, explains that building your personal brand takes a combination of hard and soft skills


As a graduate of the Digital Marketing Institute, you can be 100% assured that you have the best hard skills (education and training) available.

And now, you’ve reached an exciting point in your career, where it’s time to develop your soft skills and put ‘Brand You’ on the map!

Soft skills include networking and growing your influence with integrity and recognizable values. Use my tips and advice below to strategize on what your brand stands for – and ways to make your brand work for you.

Start With Your ‘Why’

Simon Sinek, author, motivational coach and speaker, has started a global movement asking people to find their ‘why’, in order to inspire great leadership.

I’m a believer in understanding what your ‘why’ is, to ensure that you build a career that aligns with your values. This way you’ll achieve the goals you envision for yourself, such as:

  • Doing career-defining work
  • Positioning yourself as a thought leader
  • Becoming a CMO or CEO of a great company
  • Building award-winning teams

Starting with your why also helps you build the stamina you need for a long career. When you’re working in line with your values, you’ll wake up inspired and motivated to go to work and give your best.

My own experience is an excellent example. I spent 18 years in advertising roles. I enjoyed varied and interesting experiences while working in advertising, but it was when I got an opportunity to work in recruitment that I realized my ‘why’ was helping people.

Since then, I’ve built a career that focuses heavily on the value I can bring to people’s lives. Once you know your ‘why’, amazing results happens every day.

Top tip! Watch these Simon Sinek videos to get you started with investigating your ‘why’.

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Work on Your Career Goals

If you are serious about your career, and I mean really serious, then you should be carving out five hours a week to read about and research the latest trends and thought leadership advice in your industry.

To become proficient in your career, think of Malcolm Gladwell’s research on the 10,000 hour rule. You need to be consistent in your actions to achieve your goals.

Make sure you set measurable goals for yourself every 12 months to keep yourself on track.

My goals are:

  • Raise my profile – and TalentHub’s
  • Find three mentors
  • Develop new revenue lines for TalentHub

And guess what, I’ve achieved all of the above in the first six months of the year.

Build a Plan of Action

Now that you know what you want to achieve, the next step is to build a plan to achieve these goals.

Underneath each goal you’ve set for yourself, list ideas of how you can achieve that goal. To achieve my ‘profile raising’ goal, I have implemented an ongoing PR campaign to market myself. So far, I’ve appeared on RTE and have completed three keynote presentations at three different events. I actively seek opportunities as I go about my day.

These top tips will help you build your plan of action too:

  • Find an accountability partner who is 18-24 months ahead of you in their career. Meet with them regularly and ask them to hold you accountable for the goals you have set for yourself. Some of the best career advice I got from a CEO client of mine was to make decisions by projecting yourself 18 months in the future and asking what your future self would do. This way you get used to forward-planning and strategizing, which is a key leadership skill.
  • Share your goals with your manager. Many people don’t do this but a good manager will help you achieve your goals and provide you with opportunities to shine.
  • Share your goals with your family. If you are working long hours, your closest ones need to understand why. This tactic also adds another layer of accountability.

Invest in a Career Coach

Always remember that you are the most important asset in your life! Investing in yourself is smart and will repay you throughout your life. It took me 20 years to figure this out, but you can start your career with this awareness.

There’s tons of useful content to read and digest on building your brand, from books to TED Talk videos (and others) to LinkedIn posts, but there’s also huge value in working with a dedicated career coach.

Keep an eye out for career coaches advertising their services. Once you chat with them, ask them for examples of what they have achieved with other clients. The right coach can really power your career progression.

Bonus Practical Advice

The tips below are all designed to help you build the career of your dreams.

  1. Find an amazing recruiter who completely understands digital marketing. The industry we’re in operates at a supremely fast pace. What was on trend last year is no longer on trend this year. You need to work with a recruiter who is deeply embedded in digital marketing themselves, with a network that includes influencers, employers and experts.
  2. Spend time on your CV. A great recruiter will help you with this, and you should ensure that your CV sets you apart and lists your amazing career achievements to date.
  3. Create/update your LinkedIn profile. Employers immediately search for your LinkedIn profile when you apply for a role. Make sure you have a professional photo of yourself on your profile and that you put your achievements and skills front and center. It really should be a shortened version of your CV.
  4. Plan your recruitment strategy. Research the industries you’d like to work in and then identify the employers in these industries that attract you. Do as much research as possible to understand how you could make yourself valuable to these employers. Remember that many roles aren’t advertised, but an outstanding candidate who does their research will always attract attention.
  5. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Yes, this will feel a bit frightening at first! But feel the fear and do it anyway. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the fastest way to get different results. You’ll also build resilience and self-confidence as you develop new skills or discover aspects to your personality that you didn’t know you had. This is also a brilliant way to dig deeper into your ‘why’.
  6. Volunteer to speak at events. Even a small meetup provides you with an opportunity to share your knowledge and add value to people.
  7. Ask one new person in your industry for coffee once a month. This is a great way to build your network and discuss what is happening in digital marketing with a fellow professional.
  8. Start publishing on LinkedIn. Treat yourself as a publisher. Brainstorm three topics, set up an editorial calendar and start writing. Once you’ve published your post, make sure you share it with your network.
  9. Volunteer to take on a difficult project at work. Even if you need to ask for support or help, you’ll still add immense value by taking ownership of a tricky piece of work.

Stay True to Yourself

Building your brand and planning your career progression should always be aligned with who you are as a person. There’s nothing as powerful as authenticity.

One of the best examples of an individual with a powerful personal brand is Cindy Gallop. Known for her straight-talking style, warmth and the immense value she adds with her advice and leadership, she’s in huge demand as a speaker. Her authenticity shines through.

One you understand the concept of starting with your ‘why’, and build your brand around this vision, Brand You will be an extension of yourself.

And that’s when the magic will happen!

Morgan Cummins
Morgan Cummins

Morgan Cummins, is The Mindful Recruiter, and Partner at TalentHub Coaching & Recruitment where he is on a mission to revolutionise the recruitment industry by taking a fresh approach  to helping people thrive in their careers.

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