Personal & Professional Branding: advice from headhunters

The very essence of any communicator is knowing how to "brand" your brand, but do we really know how to apply this? strategy to ourselves? In the competitive sector that is communication, how can you optimize its attractiveness? Because employability meets very specific criteria, the team We Are COM went to seek advice from the pros on the matter. 🤓 On the occasion of a club workshop, the firm's experts Mushroom, headhunters specializing in the fields of communication, marketing and digital, unveiled their best practices in Personal & Professional Branding to us. ????

Before getting to the heart of the matter, and as an appetizer, here are some figures representative of the trends in the COM job market. 

Personal & professional branding: Key figures for the communications job market
Personal & professional branding: Trends in the communications job market

👀 Elisa Stoppa and Régis Bruneau, you are both associate directors of Mushroom. To begin with, could you tell us about your findings concerning the communications job market? 

On a daily basis, we support communicators who have expressed the wish to develop their professional career. From our experience, we have drawn two observations. 

On the one hand, great opportunities lie in recruiters don't always come from the communications world. This may seem trivial, however it is not always easy to get in tune with the expectations of an interlocutor who does not really belong to the same sector. A few years ago, expectations were very focused on creation, while today, and more and more, the recruiter expects from you a speech focused on the business, the results and especially the ROI. It therefore becomes essential to adapt to systemic changes in the market. 

On the other hand, our second observation concerns “self-marketing”. It appears that the more a candidate enjoys a rich and long career, the more complex it is for him to "market". In general, candidates find it difficult to synthesize and simply structure their experiences, which is far from reassuring for a recruiter. If you are having trouble selling yourself, will you be successful for a product or business? It is important to reassure your future employer, and for that to bridle its course. Learn how to sum it up in less than 15 minutes!

🎯 Can you explain to us more precisely what Personal & Professional Branding is? 

Personal & Professional Branding consists of working on your own brand image. Previously, focusing on building a CV and preparing for an interview was enough for the hiring process. With the transformation digital and the advent of digital, it is now essential to work around your personal specificities: profile, background and content. All this represents us and allows us to stand out. In other words, Personal & Professional Branding is the implementation of a real strategy of storytelling around you, based on the following triptych: visibility, quality and authenticity. It optimizes both the reputation and the e-reputation of a professional. 

Why Personal & Professional Branding? Quite simply to "upgrade" your personal communication, whether oral, written or digital. To stand out thanks to Personal & Professional Branding, you can benefit from support, however, remember that most of the work must come from you. 

Personal & Professional Branding is the implementation of a real storytelling strategy around oneself, based on the following triptych: visibility, quality and authenticity

Personal & Professional Branding meets three objectives: 

1 / Introspection: First of all, it is necessary to draw up a professional assessment, to take stock of your experiences and your achievements. Knowing yourself allows you to understand yourself and therefore to apprehend your future aspirations. This initial, fundamentally personal work optimizes your chances of landing an opportunity that meets your expectations. 

2 / Construction: Secondly, you need to establish an appropriate individual strategy, just as you do for a brand. It is important that you shape your image through professional tools, such as CV, social networks, portfolios ... 

3 / Realization: Finally, comes the implementation of this strategy, which must be nurtured on a daily basis. This third phase, which is very targeted, can only prove to be successful if the first two stages have been carried out successfully.

🛠 More concretely, on which media to implement your Personal & Professional Branding strategy? 

The first windows perceived by recruiters, even before the CV, are the Social networks, starting with LinkedIn. Any content posted helps build your professional reputation.  

LinkedIn : Your profile must highlight the information found in your CV. It is important to specify precisely your position: "Luxury external communication", "Corporate pharma communication" ... It is also interesting to present your title both in French and in English. "Fanciful" titles are to be avoided. Regarding the contents: forums et interviews specialties are to be favored because this increases the visibility of your expertise in a field. 

Facebook : More and more recruiters are using Facebook, publications should be moderate, be careful not to expose your personal life more than necessary. 

Instagram: This social network is used more when recruiting creative profiles. It is often considered as a monitoring tool, making it possible to provide an overview of your particular universe. 

Twitter: In our opinion, this is not an essential network to demonstrate your professional expertise. On the other hand, it remains a very practical tool for monitoring. 

At the same time, it is important not to neglect your CV! Social networks are in no way a substitute. When asked, you must be able to transmit it quickly, it must be impeccable. 

It is important not to neglect your CV! Social networks are in no way a substitute

💡 Exactly, what would you advise regarding CVs? Should we favor sobriety or originality? 

A thousand times a traditional CV! We must banish wacky colors, various pictograms or flags indicating that you are bilingual. Stay sober, that's our watchword. If you are in the world of creation, it is your portfolio that must be made original, not your curriculum vitae. Remember that a recruiter only spends an average of 6 seconds on your CV, often only looking at the top. The latter must therefore present the key information in a very visual way: your skills, the languages ​​spoken, etc. 

Regarding the course of your course, once again the key word is sobriety. Select the most relevant information and summarize it. Don't go into too much detail. Knowing how to brand is knowing how to put yourself in a brand position. Keep asking yourself the following question: "Would I buy my own product?" ".

Another little tip? Also include a photo in your CV (sober of course) and for that a framing on the face is enough. This contributes to the recruiter's memorization work. 

Knowing how to brand is knowing how to put yourself in a brand position

🎉 What are the trends in the communications job market?

In this “post-covid” era, it is necessary to look to the future. However, it is not always easy to find your place in a changing world, divided between processes that endure and practices that are renewed. The behavior of individuals, like that of brands, has been transformed over the past two years. In addition, ever more present and increasingly sophisticated digital tools are also revolutionizing our daily communications. From these two observations, follow 3 major trends concerning the job market. 

1 / Mobility and teleworking: What an upheaval between “suffered telework” and now “desired telework”. It sometimes turns out to be complicated to position yourself, especially when changing jobs. So, don't rush into this topic and be open. Above all, the recruiter needs to know that you are part of a company and team project. Take the time to discover the world of a company before requesting teleworking, even if this practice seems to have become commonplace, it could send the wrong signal. 

2 / The virtual and the hybrid : It is not always easy to know how to do it during virtual interviews. However, this perilous exercise is now an integral part of our daily lives, we must therefore learn to master the codes. Practice energizing your video interviews by adopting a positive and dynamic attitude. Without the gestures and facial expressions specific to a physical encounter, it is essential to work on yourself in order to highlight your personality, which is sometimes harmed by the distance. Also think about optimizing the conditions of a virtual interview, pay attention to every detail: noise, decor, posture ... 

3 / Digitization: More and more, you will have to collaborate with “digital natives”. Obviously, no one will ask you to compete with them, however you will need to show some versatility in digitalization, in order to supervise these new recruits. Without mastering each tool, you need to understand them. This knowledge of the digital environment is a real asset for your employability. Social networks and “gamification” are and will remain at the heart of all issues for brands. 

📈 And what are the growing sectors? 

Once again, the crisis was extremely revealing. We have noted 4 major developments in the communication sector:

1 / The pure-players and e-commerce: Social media oriented profiles, and especially those oriented customer relationship (date, CRM), are highly valued and most often enjoy very attractive compensation. There are many positions to be filled in these fields and internationally. 

2 / “Meaningful” brands: The attractiveness of a brand now depends on its missions and commitments. Thus, the more traditional fields, such as health, agribusiness, well-being, housing ... are becoming extremely dynamic sectors of activity, in search of professionals in CSR, CRM, communications editorial and social media. 

3 / The digital / social media agency: On the agency side, it is those specializing in digital that are popular. They are shaking up brands, bringing them into new areas of expression. For a professional, knowing how to “speak the digital language” means having a significant head start in the job market. 

4 / The global communication agency: After suffering a loss of speed, the global communications agency is restoring its image. Recruitment has been increasing there for several months. Middle managers and creatives introduced to digital are more popular. 

Knowing how to "speak the digital language" means having a significant head start in the job market

(I.e. What are the big differences between the job market in Ile-de-France and in the provinces? 

Regarding job offers, they are much more numerous in Ile-de-France, a region which has a multitude ofcommunication agencies and D'advertisers. However, the other regions have very good positions to fill! Today, job search can even be more competitive there, because of this very recent “post-covid” mobility.

Regarding remuneration, it may be equivalent to that of Ile-de-France, in particular for positions of responsibility. The region constitutes a fairly interesting lever of attractiveness. 

🔎 To what extent is it possible to change industry for a communicator? 

It is certain that integrating a sector which is unknown to you can turn out to be a complex option. Hence the importance of working on Personal & Professional Branding. This support is particularly useful in this type of situation, since it focuses more on the expertise of a candidate than on his sector of activity. In any sector change approach, it is important to take stock of your specific know-how in order to be able to promote them.

At the same time, we have observed that more and more recruiters favor the sharing of certain values ​​in the sector. Showing that your values ​​are in line with those of the company you want to join is and will remain one of your best arguments. 

What to remember about branding? 

The communication strategy is not reserved for brands: professionals too must market themselves in a terribly competitive job market and a constantly changing world. Learn how to structure and synthesize your words in front of a recruiter and publish content that builds your personal and professional image. Finally, no longer skimp on digital and its inexhaustible resources. Come on, let's go, become at the TOP of your employability! 💪

Elisa Stoppa

Elisa Stoppa

Associate director of the firm Mushroom, recruitment advice

Regis Bruneau

Regis Bruneau

Associate director of the firm Mushroom, recruitment advice

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Le Club We Are COM allows communication professionals to progress together during moments of sharing best practices only between peers, all sectors combined. Objective: an increase in collective skills in particular thanks to a workshop each month on concrete cases, responses to the major challenges of the COM, meetings with renowned experts, etc. Always exchanges in complete transparency and independence based on feedback: 0% self-promotion, 100% conviction.

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