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A week ago, I returned from my short European vacation and I’m now back in Dubai, taking refuge inside my office and various coffee shops to escape the rising temperatures.
Summer is traditionally a bit quieter here in the region, as residents enjoy their summer holidays abroad and corporate events take a summer break. This year, Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, also falls into the summer months, which means reduced working hours and life shifting into the evening and night from mid-July to mid-August.
I like to use the slower pace of summer life to tidy up my office, complete various smaller projects I didn’t get around to finishing during the busy months, and also to review the positioning of my personal brand.

In the Glion MBA program, we learn about the importance of corporate branding, creating and positioning company brands, and we also look into how brands communicate with consumers and why certain brands appear to be more successful than others. Forget about company brands for a little while and spend some time thinking about the no. 1 brand in your life: You.

“I’m not a brand! I’m an individual!” some of you might say and they are, of course, right, but from the perspective of a potential employer, students (whether undergraduate or postgraduate) who are looking to advance in their careers, are essentially commodities. We’ve all heard of job advertisements attracting far more applications than the number of available vacancies, or of jobs which are never really advertised. How then do you manage to stick out and get employers to notice you?

The answer is: By looking after your personal brand.

Start with a short & meaningful introduction – think of it as writing a thesis statement for a university report or essay. The thesis statement is that sentence or two in your text that contains the focus of your essay and tells your reader what the essay is going to be about. Your introduction should accomplish the same. You can use it on your CV, on professional networking sites like LinkedIn, or in cover letters or emails when applying for a job.
Human Resources Managers are often very busy and, faced with an avalanche of applications for a vacancy, are forced to sort out piles of CVs quickly. In the first round, they probably spend less than a minute looking at your CV, so a succinct introduction is critical.

Next, review your profiles and privacy settings on the various social networking sites you’re a member of. It goes without saying that employers who ‘google’ you, shouldn’t find compromising pictures from your last night out with your friends, but what about spelling and grammar, a properly presented employment history, and up-to-date skills and expertise?

You may think that all this is common sense, yet sadly it isn’t. Not so long ago when I was still a Hotel Manager, I frequently rejected applications because applicants failed to spell job titles correctly, misspelled the names of past employers, or included ‘expertise’ which was irrelevant for the position they were applying for. Do you think I’m severe? Frankly, if applicants cannot be bothered to spell correctly, what will they do when communicating with my guests?

A properly thought out and maintained personal brand also makes networking much easier and instantly increases your image in your industry or marketplace. People often compare networking with attending a cocktail party. Your personal brand then is your dinner suit or little black dress. After all, you wouldn’t dream of walking into a cocktail party in your pyjamas…

Your personal brand can open many doors, so it’s worth taking some time out regularly to make sure it’s polished and up-to-date. For a really good introduction to personal branding, take a look at this article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/10/brandyou.html

Want to stay in touch? I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook – you’re welcome to connect!

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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