Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Personal Branding in Bristol

Tell me about your online personal brand.  What do you mean you haven't thought about it?

Try Googling your name and see what happens. Now consider that others (prospective employers for instance) do the same. Are you happy with what they see?

When you are looking for a new job, you need to give thought to your personal brand.  Make no mistake that employers and recruiters in this area are very interested in your online brand to get a much better idea about you than the one dimensional basics that can be gleaned from a CV.

You need to be clear whether your brand is personal, social or academic – this depends on what you are trying to sell?  What do you want to be known for: what is your tag?  You need to be aware that everything you ever post online can be found and so everything you ever publish must be looked at in terms of your brand.

There are companies that specialise in developing online personal brands or rectifying negative ones.  I suppose this concept isn't new and has been alive for a long time in Hollywood where movie stars and their agents closely protect and develop their brand.

This is one of the points I discussed yesterday with students at the University of the West of England in Bristol.  For graduates, I strongly suggest that a blog is a very good idea for promoting a brand.  Using this blog to critique text books etc provides students with a great opportunity to build a strong online brand.

Despite suffering from man-flu, I had a lot of fun yesterday at Bristol.

This is one of my favourite Universities where I always feel incredibly welcome.   It is the first University I ever spoke at after being approached maybe six years ago by Programme Leader, Julian Webb.  Along with his colleague, Toby O'hara, Julian is always extremely enthusuastic and willing to do whatever is needed to give his students every advantage.  The course has a very good reputation and has produced some excellent graduates - many of whom we have been fortunate enough to place at various organisations. 

As usual, my message was based around the fact that the best people don't get the best jobs in an area as competitive as computer forensics.  The key to success is:

  • Ensure your CV is in excellent shape (and free of spelling errors);
  • Think carefully about your personal brand and online footprint;
  • Utilise Linkedin and other social media to build your network and promote your brand;
  • Make contact with the correct people in the correct way about specific or speculative roles;
  • Be persistent;
  • Get lucky!


  1. I was at the talk yesterday, and found it very interesting. I didn't realise how important social media had become in the job hunt.

  2. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I think that using social media to 'be found' is going to be the most important aspect of job searching going forward. Of course, there are those who think it is nonsense but I think that is short-sighted.

    Have a look at this website aimed at graduates to show just how much social media is potentially changing the environment:

  3. I wonder how often employers find the wrong person and draw the wrong conclusion when Googling potential employee names.

    LinkedIn tops the search results for me followed by other people with the same name, who thankfully seem to be respectable and behaving themselves :-)

    I started being careful what I attach my name to online quite a while back. I once posted a question on a Dean Martin fan club board on behalf of my Dad and it still makes an appearance when I Google myself, some 7 years later! Just need to be thankful it was Dean Martin and not Barry Manilow.

  4. Hi Lee,

    No need to be embarrassed about your love for Barry Manilow. I am in Vegas next month so will try to get an autograph....