How to build your personal brand

As somebody who successfully uses social media every day to recruit, I am regularly asked by candidates; “How do I market myself in a media digital world?”

When I talk about social media I mean using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook; platforms where multiple people can converse about anything and share views, experiences and opinions. As of the fourth quarter in 2015, LinkedIn had over 414 million members alone. That’s not even breaking into the other big hitters like Twitter and Facebook.

So how do you get noticed in a world where millions are doing the same? How do you market yourself differently to entice recruiters to look at you? In other words, how do you build a personal brand online?

Here are my top tips on how to do just that:

  • Add value to your network: Many users on LinkedIn or Twitter spend hours every day carefully building their networks, joining groups relevant to their industries and following leaders in their fields of work, waiting for something to happen. But unless you actively give back to your network or group, then you’ll never truly reap all of its benefits, and all those hours spent building will have been wasted.  Give back to your network or group by getting involved in the discussions, add to the conversation and show off your knowledge. Give your opinions or describe an experience you’ve had, don’t just take from your network; add to it. If someone relevant to your line of work follows you on Twitter, follow them back. Look at what they tweet about and retweet their posts if you like one. By doing this your name will spread and without even realising it you are already light years ahead in marketing yourself to your network or group than someone who sits and waits.

  • Be bold: Most users on LinkedIn or Twitter go through their social media lives never really making an impact or a statement that catches people’s eyes or attention. Be bold in what you write or say, find cutting edge articles in your line of work that question the norm and post them. Write about what you think and your experiences. Don’t be afraid of what people might think or say. You want to get noticed. Be different and challenge the norm, without being overly controversial. Talent searchers like myself love people who are different to the rest and at EY especially we look for a person who asks questions and challenges what thousands before them have thought. We seek someone who wants to find different ways to achieve or find alternative methods to success. 

  • Keep up your marketing: Time and time again I hear about users coming onto social media and being excited about the prospects it can create and the opportunities it can bring. They post or tweet once and then you never hear from them again. Either they got bored or no one liked or retweeted their post so they felt left out of the social media world. Wrong! Keep up your marketing. You are building your brand every time you post or tweet something - some will see it and some will read it. Every post or tweet you make is another ripple you are making in your network or group and every ripple you create is spreading your name, thoughts, experiences and knowledge.

Career summary to date

I’ve been lucky enough to work for EY for the last two and a half years. After leaving school and going straight into the army after a gap year, my route into the corporate world wasn’t as straightforward as some. I didn’t go to university, so when I was medically discharged from the military I didn’t have a great deal of qualifications I could use in civilian life. What I did have was a “never give up attitude” instilled into me by the Parachute regiment and an eagerness to succeed.

First, I sold gym memberships, and after getting a taste for building relationships and working with people, a friend who had made her own success in recruitment suggested I look at opportunities in that area. Naturally I took her advice and my career in recruitment was born.  I started out as an HR recruitment consultant, selling my services to clients all over the West Midlands. It was only when a client of mine asked me to recruit a graduate for them that my interest in graduate social media networks and recruitment began.

It was then that EY opened its doors to me when I secured a position on EY’s Pre Offer Student Hire Team in Birmingham. I managed the graduates within my service line from application to interview with EY. After a year and a half I was promoted to the Directors and Partners Team where I managed the same process for very senior appointment within EY.

Most recently I joined the People Advisory Recruitment Team where I use a variety of search tools from around the web to find the best talent for our vacancies.

With experience in four very different recruitment specialisms, I have worked with candidates at all levels from graduate entry level to Senior Partners, and I know what it takes to manage their expectations and find them their next career enhancing role.  Much of that work has been engaging with social media networks and the candidates who use them, and has required me to embrace the ‘24/7’ nature of social media and the wealth of opportunities that brings all parties involved.




Dan Hackett
  • Dan Hackett

About the author

Dan is a Talent Acquisition Specialist for EY's People Advisory Services team, which involves utilising a variety of online tools and techniques to attract candidates for roles. Prior to this Dan was working in EY's Student Hire team in Birmingham.