While you are searching for your next job in teaching, it is likely that your potential employer might also be searching for your online presence: it is becoming increasingly common for employers to consult Google when vetting potential candidates for a new position.
This means having an optimised and finely tuned online presence is pretty much essential for the modern jobseeker. That's why many teachers, just like you, are using 'personal branding' to enhance their personal profiles. This involves identifying your best qualities – perhaps you’re particularly well-organised, or you’re a proficient public speaker – and finding ways to describe and communicate your expertise via a number of online platforms.
Sceptical? Not sure how optimising your online presence could help you secure work? We’ve outlined some personal branding tips you should be aware of during the application process, including:
- Sorting out your social media
- Knowing your areas of expertise
- Starting an online blog
we’ve outlined some personal branding tips you should be aware of during the application process.
1. Optimise your social profiles
There are some obvious pitfalls for teachers when using social media so it’s likely that you’re already aware that privacy and censorship are important. And, according to LinkedIn, employees have roughly 10 times more social connections than a brand does - so, lots of people could see your posts. Auditing your social media settings should, therefore, be step number one for any teacher who is serious about their career.
Reviewing your Facebook privacy settings is where you should begin so pay close attention to who can see your profile and who can contact you. This also applies to some other social channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: there's no reason why you can't utilise these platforms for personal use but always be mindful of who has access to these and can contact you.
In terms of your personal brand, YouTube is an incredibly powerful platform that many online influencers use to distribute content and connect with millions of people. Some astonishing statistics about YouTube that show the potential reach of the platform are:
- 1.3bn use YouTube globally
- 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- Nearly 5bn videos are watched on YouTube every day
LinkedIn is an overlooked social platform in the education sector, so if you don’t have an account already, consider setting one up to showcase your skills and experience – just remember to make sure it matches what’s written on your CV. You should also pay close attention to your personal profile – however brief it may be. Just remember to give details of your specialisms or qualifications so recruiters can find you as easily as possible e.g.: “Kay Mills | Maths Teacher and 6th Form Curriculum Coordinator”.
Our recruitment experts in the education sector outline their top personal branding tip in the clip below:
2. Narrow down your teaching specialisms
Building your brand means understanding your own areas of expertise, so you need to figure out what it is that makes your teaching methods or class management unique.
Many people find it hard to focus on what makes them special, so some people use this technique to find out.
First, make a list and detail everything you do in the classroom and the school. Then try to narrow down that list to pick the thing you know you’re best at – i.e. the thing that people ask you to do because they know you’ll do a good job.
Next, work out what that expertise means. What do you stand for? Most companies will have distinct values and associations e.g. Aldi stands for low prices, Rolls-Royce stands for luxury. Perhaps you have an ability to help children who struggle to read or you’re unusually good at livening up a traditionally ‘difficult’ subject. You might also be good at calming down angry students or helping train other teachers. Whatever they are, narrow down your specialisms and start thinking about how you can share your advice and experiences with others.
If you’re good at something, you want everyone else to know about it, and you also want to use your knowledge to help them get better at the same thing too. You need to explain the methods you use and the success/failure stories you’ve had after putting them into practice. It’s time to start building up your reputation as a knowledgeable expert, both offline and online.
3. Find a platform and start writing
To really control your online reputation, the best thing to do is find a blogging or content sharing platform where you can expound your views and advice. You don’t need to create something that is going to get millions of readers – but remember it should feature highly in the search results when people look for your name online.
Picking the platform is, to a great extent, a matter of personal taste but, depending on your specialisms, you may favour one over the other. You can start writing using Wordpress, Blogspot or Medium very easily or you might want to consider LinkedIn Pulse as it will connect directly to your LinkedIn profile. Alternatively, you might want to dive into teaching forums like TeachersTalk. With all of these platforms, to increase the reach of your content you'll want to promote it across your social channels.
When it comes to writing, try and keep your writing topical, accessible and engaging and consider experimenting with different angles. However, when it comes to teaching never mention any specific details about the school you work at, or information about a pupil or colleague that could make them identifiable. Remember that this is incredibly sensitive information, so a thinly disguised description is not good enough.
ChildNet provides several useful resources on this matter. One of which states:
“Posting derogatory comments about pupils, parents or colleagues is never acceptable. Teachers are required to uphold the reputation of the school, to maintain reasonable standards in their own behaviour, and to uphold public trust in their profession. Bringing your school or your profession into disrepute may cost you your job.”
Even so, there are still plenty of things you will be able to say about your expertise that can help colleagues and help you build your reputation in a positive way. So get brainstorming and you might find yourself taking the next step in your career sooner than you think.
For more information on career development, advice or general work-related topics, take a look at our career hub? You're only one click away from your dream job.