“Sustainable success” isn’t a term we hear about too often when it comes to our careers, and maybe it’s time we start talking about it more. If you think about personal branding, the first thing that often springs to mind is social media and LinkedIn profiles. And while those things are important—research from Career Builder shows that that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates—when it comes to cultivating a career that grows in a healthy way, there's another way to look at it. According to Angela Briggs, the CEO or recruitment company UMENCO, even in the digital age, the traditional tenants of a good work ethic, kindness, and a good attitude will serve you better than how many double taps your latest Instagram photo gets.
Below we asked Briggs for her best pearls of wisdom when it comes to building a sustainable personal brand, the difference between a mediocre and effective LinkedIn profile, and how to build your way to a promotion within your company. Read on for her expert advice.
Building a Sustainable Reputation is Essential
As you think about your reputation, Briggs suggests looking at how you perform day-to-day and making sure you have the fundamentals right first. "Personal brand is really about reputation. I think values and integrity, honesty and great communication, and treating people well (while achieving results) is what it really comes down to. You can have an amazing online profile, but that's not necessarily a positive personal brand. It really comes down to your work and your approach to work."
Briggs also asserts that connection is key: "I think a CV is still a part of your personal brand, even in the world of social media. I think you need to have a great track record of success, and people really want to have that personal connection. Employers like to feel a connection to your work and a connection to you as a person. Relationships are key, and really working on building those long-term ones that are built on trust, integrity, and great results is really what is important for your personal brand."
What Employers Are Looking at on Your LinkedIn Profile
While it’s one thing to have an impressive employment history, the other is making sure you make it easy for your potential employer to see how skilled you are. "Having a strong LinkedIn profile is important. Avoiding things like third person, and having your profile up to date, while also taking the time to genuinely connect with people is important. So, whether that be at events, or brainstorming ideas with others, all those things really contribute to building yourself as an identity within your field. The old-fashioned things are still really important too. As for your LinkedIn profile: Great grammar and great spelling often go missed—those really simple things reveal your attention to detail. That, and making sure to outline the clear responsibilities you had in your previous roles, so when someone takes a quick look at your profile, they get a good sense of who you are. It's also important to make sure you have a professional profile picture," says Briggs.
What Employers Are Really Looking for in a Candidate
When it comes to what potential employers look for, Briggs suggests that they are still the same, even in the digital age. "I’d say work ethic is still important, sharing the brand’s values and vision. I think that's one of the key qualities that employers are looking for. I also think one that doesn't get spoken about as often is learning agility, the ability to continuously learn and adapt to change", she says.
How to Build Your Way to a Promotion
When it comes to getting a promotion, often it really comes down to preparing for a long time before even having the conversation. Briggs talks us through the process. "I think it's all about the day-to-day delivery of great results. Commitment to the company, and really having clear dialogue about what your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals are, while also having a strategy in place about who you are and where you want to be. I think it's important for a manager and member of the team to have open and continuous dialogue to establish that both of you are on the same page, so that there are no surprises, or misaligned expectations. I think it's up to both parties to make sure that the key-performance indicators are there by creating a road map together. So it's not necessarily what's next, but about that everyday experience and coaching. Then, I don't think that the conversations about pay-rises or promotions will ever come as surprises."
For more career inspiration read through Career Code by Hilary Kerr and Katherine Power.