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Career growth: Build your personal brand

June 17, 2009 11:59 IST

In an earlier article (Laid off? Get back on your feet), I mentioned the importance of building a personal brand. In this feature, we take a closer look at how creating a powerful personal brand can be a potent career growth strategy for professionals in mid-senior management positions.

The number of available opportunities reduces as one moves up the corporate ladder. The dynamics of the search process are also very different. Senior positions are generally not advertised on job portals. Most of them are available only through the network.

Very often, hiring managers identify the right people in the industry and pursue them to take up the position. So, here are some tips that could help you create a personal brand and attract the best opportunities:

Blog writing
A thoughtful blog about your industry and area of work is probably the most powerful way to create a personal brand. It's the best platform to exhibit your understanding, experience and passion for whatever you do. Setting up a blog is fairly easy. If you don't want to get into the hassle of buying a domain and hosting it yourself, just create an account on websites like blogger.com or wordpress.com.

The greatest challenge is to be able to write regularly. Start with writing once a week and then increase the frequency as you move forward. It's like a public resume -- make sure it is professional and well-written. It can open up a plethora of opportunities for you like consulting, speaking or writing opportunities.

Events/speaking opportunities
Go out and attend industry events and conferences. This will help you stay abreast of the latest in your industry and also helps build the right network. Knowing the right people in the industry can do wonders for your career growth.

You could also take up speaking opportunities at these events. Anyone can do it with a little practice. This will position you as a thought leader in your space and give tremendous visibility within and outside your organisation.

Linkedin
A vast majority of hiring managers search for names of candidates online before speaking to them and you can use this to your advantage. Use search engines to find mentions of your name and monitor the results from time to time. Make sure that the results do not reflect anything you wouldn't want recruiters to view.

Professional blogs and Linkedin profiles often come up in the first few results, so make sure you fill in your contact details. You could also ask colleagues, customers, partners, managers, etc to write a recommendation. Wouldn't it be great if someone searches for your name and sees a couple of recommendations?

In addition, participate in conversations on Linkedin Answers. It exhibits your experience and understanding and increases your visibility.

More and more recruiters are using tools like Linkedin to reach out to passive job seakers. Make sure you are visible enough when they make the searches.

Tarun Matta is the founder of iimjobs.comĀ -- an exclusive job portal for MBAs from IIMs and other premier business schools in India. He holds a BTech in Computer Science & Engineering from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University and MBA from Indian Institute of Management Indore.

Tarun Matta