As a project contractor, your entire livelihood centres on the unique skill and expertise you can offer an organisation. Despite your specialised skill set, there are others like you in the market all vying for the same or similar project roles. The only differentiator between them and you is how you package and sell yourself in the marketplace. The key to doing so is showcasing a consistent personal brand that sells your skills for you.
While establishing a personal brand may seem complicated, there a few easy ways to kickstart the process. Here I break down the key elements to moulding a personal brand and what you can do it maximise its effectiveness.
1. Find a niche
First things first; establish what your unique offering to the marketplace is. Your key skills and experience are important, but what do they all add up to? A list of 50 previous employers and projects in different industries does little to highlight exactly what you are best at. The trick to success in what is an increasingly specialised job market is noting your strengths and packaging them to showcase a specific offering that appeals to your target market.
When establishing exactly what your unique offering is, be mindful that overconfidence may not always be perceived as endearing. Be sure that you are realistic about what you are good at and focus on specific areas you excel in, as this will be portrayed as genuine and ultimately more believable in the eyes of the client.
2. Make yourself visible
Once you have established the brand you wish to showcase, the next step is putting it out there. The easiest way to get this message across, in addition to a killer resume, is your digital presence. In the majority of cases, your LinkedIn page will be viewed long before you’re called in for an interview, and will influence your potential client’s opinion when assessing whether or not you are right for the role. A grabbing job description and succinct headline about what you offer is the quickest and most effective way to draw them in.
While LinkedIn is the logical place to harvest your personal brand, the key to making your presence felt is reiteration. Any other digital accounts such as Facebook or Twitter should convey the same messages. Your personal brand should also be reflected in how you present yourself outside of the digital sphere; your business cards, resume and even your manner of dress must best represent how you want to be perceived.
3. Highlight the best…
…and forget the rest. It’s likely that, as a project contractor, you will have a list a mile long of successfully executed bygone projects, but not all of them will necessarily be indicative of your personal brand. When it comes to your LinkedIn page, a list of relevant career highlights is infinitely more effective in showcasing what you have to offer: save the detailed account for your resume.
4. Consistency is the key
At the end of the day, the key to a successful personal brand lies in consistency. Ensuring the same messages are presented across all social media platforms, business cards, your resume and correspondence between you and potential clients will solidify what it is you have to offer and set you apart from the pack.
By working diligently to establish a consistent personal brand you will eliminate uncertainty of your abilities in the minds of potential clients. Consistency also denotes a commitment to your career and strength in character, which instils faith and trust in the relationship before you even commence work with the client.