Personal brand, does it really matter?

During last week we have been lucky enough to participate as a speakers to “Festa Della Rete”, one of the most important events regarding IT world in Italy. Our aim and mission was simple: let’s participate to the discussion on personal branding, let’s say something from our “privileged observer’s” stand point, let’s state clearly that we do not recruit people on a daily basis since fall of Berlin Wall, but probably have some useful insights.

Personal branding matters. Unfortunately nobody wants to hire a guy who looks untidy, and whose social profiles are neglected, it gives you the idea of carelessness and, after all, how do you present yourself is a good proxy of the care you take by doing your job. But this is straight forward, isn’t it? Probably the point is quantifying the impact that a good personal brand has on your chances to be hired, and how to maximize this value.

Our impression is that the second question has far easier answer than the first. More than a 100 followers on Twitter, your story explained clearly on LinkedIn and a neat but personal Facebook without strong political references make a graduate a wanna-hire. Showing an hobby gives recruiter the excuse to start a conversation, or to end nicely an interview. In general, and this is a gold rule for any profile, never give the impression you are a “done” person, but someone satisfied with her choices who wants grow further, having a clear vision of how you want to be in 3 years from now.

Yes, we wrote how you want to be, not where you want to be, it is by far a more important point.

Having said that this is essential to make you a “wanna hire” guy, how much does your work on your personal brand impacts your chances to be hired? From our experience at Meritocracy the answer is unfortunately not enough to always justify the effort needed to make you stand out. Why is that? Because simply, observing their hiring process, you don’t stand out no matter what. From our experience recruiters allocate on average 1 minute to observe each resume, and is very likely that they won’t be able to appreciate properly, during the screening process, how much carefully you designed your profile.

That is a consistent part of the reason why we founded Meritocracy, we wanted a system that would help recruiters concentrate and allocate their time on people that worked hard to deserve so.

In the meantime, the most useful advice we can provide is to do a lot of research and select up to 5 opportunities, not more, you really, really want to catch. Do research, study, be intimately convinced you want to join these companies; organize then your own cross network profiles to show you chose them and you are their hire. Do your best to reach directly their recruiter or a person working in the company, don’t be afraid to do it the “analogic way”: you shall be ready to go physically knocking their door. Remember, you just have 5 awesome chances, in life usually they are too many for a lot of things. If you are really good in doing this you can get up to 4 interviews, promised, and you will possibly be doing the job you really wanted.