Career development

Elevate your food career with personal branding

Career Development

A strong brand isn't just something a growing company needs to build.

In today's constantly connected world, personal branding is growing increasingly important, as the manufacturing recruitment process evolves. Around 70% of employers screen candidates by checking their social media presence.

Moreover, countless hiring managers and recruitment agencies will assess your online presence before providing a job offer.

Cultivating a successful personal brand is how you ensure you're sending the right impression to future employers and recruitment agencies.

Used correctly, your brand will augment your CV, cover letter, and job applications, to demonstrate why you're the perfect candidate for your ideal role.

The question is, how do you build a great personal brand?

Step 1: Identify your Branding Goals

First, it's essential to determine what you want to achieve with your personal brand. A good personal brand should define who you are to the world, highlighting your unique combination of values, skills, and experiences. How you present and edit your personal brand will determine how potential employers perceive you.

With this in mind, ask yourself what kind of image you want to create.

Think about:

- Values: What unique values, strengths and perspectives can you bring to the food industry? How would an employer identify you as a perfect fit for their company culture?

- Skills: What are your technical manufacturing skills, and what kind of experience do you have putting them to the test? Do you have any certifications or accreditation?

- Personality: What kind of person do you want people to see you as? Are you detail-oriented, creative, passionate, or supportive?

An excellent way to define the kind of brand you'll need to build is to look at the personality traits, skills, and values mentioned in job descriptions for the kind of role you want to earn.

Step 2: Audit your Existing Narrative

Once you know what you want your personal brand to look like, it's worth looking at the impression you're already giving in the manufacturing space. In today's digitally-connected world, virtually every employee already has a personal brand.

You can get a good idea of the perception you're building by examining your social media pages and asking yourself what kind of impression you give when sharing content online. It's also worth looking at the connections you have to other people in your industry and how your associations might help people to understand who you are.

Check everything from your LinkedIn page to your online portfolio to ensure you're making the right impression. If you're not, work on removing anything which goes against the personal brand you're trying to build, even if this means making some social channels "private".

Step 3: Create Your Personal Pitch

A good view of your existing reputation and the personal brand you want to create should help you to make a start on your personal pitch. This is essentially the "elevator pitch" you give to sell yourself to colleagues, employers, and hiring professionals.

Your personal pitch should outline your specific value in the food manufacturing space and what you have to offer quickly and concisely. It should consider both your past experiences and the future you're aiming for.

For instance, if you've spent years as an HR Director, but you want to become a Sales Manager, you can show people how your experience in HR helped you to develop the people skills you need to connect with prospects.

Once you have your personal pitch, you can also use it to guide the content you share online and the way you present yourself to others. For instance, every time you're going to post something on LinkedIn, ask yourself, "Would the person I'm pitching to others also share this?".

Step 4: Develop Your Presence and Network

Your personal pitch and the view of the kind of impression you want to send in your food manufacturing space will help you to think about where you can develop your existing online presence and identity. Ask yourself whether you're already active on all the forums and platforms where an employer might look for you, including on industry forums and social media sites.

Look at how active you are on these platforms too. Sharing content regularly will help you to strengthen your position as a thought leader and demonstrate your unique personality.

While you're working on your digital presence, think about how you can also expand your network. Sharing content should help you to attract the attention of some other leaders in your space, but don't be afraid to reach out over social media and connect with people too.

A strong network helps to give credibility to the brand you're building, and it could open the door to new opportunities.

Step 5: Work on Increasing your Value

A personal brand isn't something you should create once and then never look at again. Like you, your personal brand is a dynamic, evolving thing. You'll need to make sure you're constantly working on ways to demonstrate your value through the image you create.

To strengthen the impact of your personal brand:

- Commit to constant learning: Work on regularly developing your knowledge in the food manufacturing space and expanding your skills to make yourself more appealing to employers.

- Share content regularly: Build your social presence by regularly sharing content, connecting with others, and expanding your network.

- Work with the professionals: Speak to a specialist food recruitment agency about the kind of things the employers in your space are looking for, and build your brand based on the information you get.