It would be a grave mistake to use the current skills shortage in construction as an excuse to become complacent about your personal brand. People with powerful personal brands not only get hired for the best roles, but they also make their mark quickly and find themselves on a rapid promotion path.
Personal branding is the thing that sets you apart- it’s about communicating what makes you special in the construction field, and what makes you an asset.
You may think it sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to create a personal brand to boost your career, but the thing is you already have a personal brand in your workplace, and your personal brand is also evident to employers during your job hunt. The problem is, that unless you have put real thought and action into moulding that brand, then your brand is not really under your control- which means that your career progress won’t be either.
Steps to creating a strong personal brand
1. Analyse your personal brand in the workplace. Are you perceived as a specialist in something? If you work on site, do you think your colleagues see you as a ‘steady hand’, ‘a quick worker’, or ‘someone with potential’? Or do you think your brand might not be so positive- perhaps, ‘time-waster’, ‘minimal effort’, or just ‘too talkative’? Your personal brand is under your control, so if it needs to be tweaked- or even radically overhauled; remember feedback is helpful.
2. Make sure your online presence reflects your personal brand favourably. There’s little point making yourself out to be the pinnacle of respectability at work, if your Facebook or Twitter feed are full of off-colour jokes, divisive political statements, or pictures of you partying.Google yourself and see what appears. It’s not just about removing negative associations; you also need to create favourable ones that are in line with your brand— so if that means writing a few LinkedIn blogs, making sure your social media posts are ‘on message’ or updating your company bio to be more professional, then waste no time in doing that.
3. Create a personal website. Nothing says, ‘I take my career seriously’ better than a personal website. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; you just need to detail your achievements and CV, have some good photos, links to your social media, and run a good-quality blog about your field of expertise if you want to rise up the search engine rankings.Also use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter wisely to promote yourself: they are publishing platforms, so use them as such. From a construction standpoint, you could post discussions about new tools or project management systems you’ve come across, share posts from an interesting architecture website, or post pictures of a building project coming along well.
Before posting anything online (whether on a personal or company page) think: is this in line with my personal brand?
4. Build your network. Attend seminars and networking events in your construction field, and attend webinars online to build up your knowledge. In all of these, it’s key to make yourself noticed while you are there- whether it’s asking a question in a live seminar, or posting a comment on a webinar discussion. Before long, people start to recognise your name as someone with ideas, and someone with a voice.
5. Look for positive associations already in your network. What are you missing? Have you reached out to reconnect lately with former colleagues/university friends/old bosses? Make wise choices about who might reflect favourably on your brand, or who may give you new insights into your field so you can progress.
6. Make sure your personal appearance reinforces your personal brand. It’s obviously vital to look sharp for an interview, but remember that your personal brand is built on day-by-day. If your job is on a dusty worksite, it can sometimes be hard to make your appearance reflect a professional brand as easily as if your job requires a suit- but it’s far from impossible if you always turn up to work well-groomed, with ironed clothes and shoes that reflect a high personal standard.
7. Be super-prepared for work each and every day. Personal brands can be damaged by relatively minor things, like the apprentice who’s always misplacing his tools and has to borrow other people’s, or the manager whose phone is always running out of battery. Make sure you’re prepared for work every night to avoid silly mistakes that hurt your professional reputation.
Do you know what your personal brand is right now? If so, do you like it? What can you do today to improve it? Remember, it’s never too late to rebrand yourself and get your construction career on the fast-track.