Contractor jobs and freelance positions in eLearning are becoming increasingly popular, and the demand for eLearning professionals continues to rise and grow. In this competitive market, personal branding is essential for professionals to stand out from the competition to attract new career opportunities.
eLearning specialists must invest in personal branding strategies to gain recognition and respect within the industry. Personal branding allows professionals to freely express their achievements and relevant work within the sector, as well as their personality and unique values and goals.
In this guide, we will answer the important question of ‘What is personal branding, and why is it important for eLearning specialists?’. We will delve into the specific elements of personal branding and break down its importance. Later in the guide, we will discuss the different strategies an eLearning professional must take to develop a strong personal brand, create a positive and accurate representation of themselves, and stand out from other professionals within the field.
What is Personal Branding?
So, what is personal branding? In the eLearning industry, personal branding involves creating and moulding the public perception surrounding an eLearning professional in a way that sets them apart from other candidates. It showcases their important characteristics, from distinctive value propositions to their personality, values and vision. The eLearning industry is ever-growing, and personal branding is extremely valuable for professionals seeking to distinguish themselves, attract their ideal audience, and advance their careers.
Strategic personal branding approaches entail harnessing professional networks, sharing visions and passions, and actively engaging with the eLearning community to create a lasting brand identity. Specialised training courses are readily available to assist eLearning professionals in defining and managing their brand image, overseeing their online presence, and refining their brand.
Personal branding in eLearning is about taking control of the narrative surrounding an individual and presenting the best possible image. Personal branding is a way of standing out in the competitive eLearning landscape when creating a memorable brand identity.
What are the Elements of Personal Branding?
For personal branding to create a successful impact, freelance and eLearning contractors must incorporate various critical elements to showcase their skills and expertise to demonstrate how they stand out.
Essential personal branding elements for eLearning professionals can include:
- Your unique selling point - This is what makes you stand out from other eLearning professionals.
- Create a brand story - Give the reasoning behind your work and choices by incorporating personal elements.
- Online presence management - This involves sharing content about your achievements and relevant work related to the industry.
- Defining and promoting what you stand for - eLearning professionals can describe what makes them tick, their values, personalities and career aspirations that differentiate them from the crowd.
- The visual style - This can include a colour palette, font choices, and general layout, which is a great way to demonstrate a specialist's personal style.
The Importance of Personal Branding for eLearning Specialists
Personal branding is essential as it empowers eLearning professionals to create meaningful connections, actively participate in the eLearning community, and showcase their work. This, in turn, allows them to broaden their reach and increase their influence within the industry, differentiating them from the competition.
What can personal branding accomplish, and why is it important?
- You stand out from the crowd - eLearning is a competitive job market, so eLearning specialists must differentiate themselves from the competition by creating impactful personal branding.
- Builds trust - An excellent personal brand portrays professionalism and represents you as a trustworthy specialist, increasing your career development chances and attracting new opportunities.
- Controls the narrative - Personal branding allows professionals to control how they present themselves to the public, ensuring they are presented most advantageously.
- Career progression - A strong personal brand can lead to several new career opportunities, as a great personal brand will attract hiring managers and differentiate professionals from other candidates.
- Networking - Personal branding is one of the best ways to collaborate with other professionals within the field and develop a network, leading to new career opportunities and meaningful relationships.
How to Build a Personal Brand as an eLearning Professional
Now that we have discovered the importance of personal branding let’s discuss how you can effectively market yourself as an eLearning professional:
1. Identify Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
A unique value proposition (UVP) serves as the fundamental essence of a personal brand. For an eLearning specialist to identify their unique value proposition, they must recognise which unique blend of skills, knowledge, experiences, and values will distinguish them from others within the industry.
Creating a robust and unique selling point is essential in presenting why an eLearning professional differs from other specialists in the field and demonstrates why they are suitable for their target audience. Developing an excellent UVP is vital in personal branding, allowing an eLearning specialist to express their values with assurance and effectiveness in a memorable way. The UVP must be clear, concise, impactful, and explicitly represent the benefits an eLearning professional can provide.
An eLearning specialist needs to frequently test the effectiveness of their unique value proposition, as they can get additional insights and feedback from the target audience. This personal branding strategy is essential for standing out, showcasing your best abilities, earning recognition, and drawing in the desired professional opportunities.
Areas to consider when evaluating your unique value proposition:
- Relevancy - It is essential to explain how a unique set of skills and experience will benefit the eLearning industry to drive success and solve potential issues for the target audience.
- Value - Strong communication is essential when presenting a unique value proposition. It is crucial to explain the specific benefits of the UVP, such as enhanced performance within the eLearning industry.
- Differentiation - eLearning specialists need to pinpoint precisely why their UVP sets them apart from other professionals within the industry, making them an ideal choice for the target audience.
- Communication - Consistent, precise and compelling communication across various channels ensures the UVP resonates with the target audience.
2. Utilise Professional Networks - Social Media
According to LinkedIn, 85% of professionals believe networking is essential for career success. Social media provides excellent networking platforms for eLearning specialists.
In recent years, social media has become more than just a pre-employment check, as technological advancements mean that eLearning specialists can use social media to market their personal brand, showcasing their skills, values, insights and representation. Social media networking platforms are used daily by eLearning professionals to promote their unique value proposition and connect with other professionals within the eLearning field. Here are examples of effective and widely used social media platforms:
LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform primarily used to connect professionals globally from all backgrounds, from entry-level to senior roles. LinkedIn has an advanced search tool that allows eLearning professionals to apply for both contractor and freelance positions, and it also has a contact feature where eLearning specialists can discuss career opportunities with others within the field.
How to build a personal brand on LinkedIn:
- Optimise your profile - eLearning specialists must include a professional-looking headshot and around a twenty-word elevator pitch in the ‘headline’ section. It is also essential to have around five paragraphs in the ‘about you’ section explaining your UVP and why your skills and personality differentiate you from others.
It is vital to include all relevant education, work experience and links to successful work, such as articles, websites and an online eLearning portfolio.
- Create and optimise your content - Creating and posting content such as LinkedIn articles can highlight an eLearning specialist's position within the industry. Writing articles provides the opportunity to share work experiences and valuable insights surrounding the eLearning sector, which will appeal to other professionals within the field. Using keywords in eLearning will attract more relevant users and optimise content.
- Engage and connect with others - eLearning professionals must create meaningful connections with others in the industry. Engaging with other professionals can include liking, commenting, sharing posts, and following and connecting with others.
- Join groups - Joining groups with other professionals within the eLearning industry is an excellent way to engage and discover relevant posts and is a great way to connect with others in the field, which could lead to new career opportunities.
X (Previously Known As Twitter)
X is one of the go-to platforms people look for when they want to discover trends and generally what's happening worldwide, acting as a main driving force for discussion and connecting with others. X is an excellent platform for users to source professionals within the eLearning community and represent themselves as an ideal specialist.
How to build a personal brand on X:
- Create an ‘X Professionals’ account - An X professionals account enables eLearning specialists to distinguish themselves as professionals in the field.
- Post meaningful content - Only eLearning-specific content expressing expert knowledge and values is essential. Using hashtags and keywords will optimise content and attract other professionals in the industry.
- Engage with others - Building relationships with the target audience is essential, where sharing, commenting on, liking posts and following other eLearning professionals will create valuable opportunities.
- Optimise your profile - Including a clear professional headshot photo and a bio that describes your brand story and unique value proposition will make you stand out in the eLearning industry.
According to a recent study, 54% of Instagram users in the UK were found to use the platform several times a day. Considering Instagram is used so vastly all over the globe, the social media platform is one of the best for personal branding for eLearning professionals. The platform allows users to create professional business pages dedicated to eLearning.
How to build a personal brand on Instagram:
- Post consistently - To gain attention and engagement, daily posts are essential. Regular posting increases exposure and will appeal to other eLearning professionals.
- Interact with other users - This can include liking and commenting on relevant eLearning posts, reposting stories and reels, and using relevant hashtags. Following other eLearning specialists and liking posts with fewer likes is more likely to get your profile noticed.
- Tell your brand story - Instagram posts should reflect the brand story, clearly presenting who you are, your interests and skills, values, and perspectives concerning eLearning.
- Optimise your profile - Including a professional profile picture and brand description in the bio section, as well as contact information and links to other platforms, such as an online eLearning portfolio, is essential in gaining recognition and new connections.
3. Create an Online eLearning Portfolio to Showcase Your Work
Creating an eLearning portfolio is one of the best ways for eLearning specialists to present their skills, experience, and creativity from past projects they have worked on. According to a recent study, 25.7% of hiring managers require applicants to have a portfolio within the eLearning Instructional Design sector. So, it is essential to have an online eLearning portfolio that is easily accessible to other eLearning professionals to optimise personal branding and recognition.
How can you create a stand-out eLearning portfolio?
- Define your brand statement - Within an eLearning portfolio, it is essential to include a concise summary of your unique value proposition. It should explain who you are, how, and why you work within the industry. This should be in the introduction and hook the target audience, differentiating you from others.
- Include examples of key projects - It’s important to include the best and most relevant examples of work in an eLearning portfolio that are aimed at the industry of work you are targeting, showing your unique style and creativity of work. Skills can include instructional design expertise and authoring tools used within eLearning courses. It is important to tell a story and explain each project's context, solution, and outcome.
- Add personal elements - To stand out from the crowd, it is essential to incorporate personal elements into an eLearning portfolio. This can include passion, values, interests and hobbies expressed through blogs, pictures and videos. Having links to other social media platforms is also a great networking strategy.
To learn more on how to create the perfect eLearning portfolio, discover our insightful guide - How to Build a Stand-Out eLearning Portfolio.
4. Maintain a Consistent Profile
It is essential for eLearning contractors and freelancers to remain consistent with their content across various platforms while staying up-to-date and knowledgeable on the latest trends within the industry.
Committing to a content routine where content is posted daily and continuous interaction with other connections and followers is an excellent idea. It is important to update all platforms with new content around similar topics simultaneously. For example, if the eLearning portfolio content has been updated, LinkedIn content should match this.
Investing in a content calendar is a good idea, so it is easy to organise when content is updated across all platforms. It also allows time for engaging in other interactional activities, such as replying to messages and comments.
How does consistency boost your personal brand?
- Builds trust - Consistency in content establishes trust within the industry and demonstrates professionalism and dedication to expressing interest within the field.
- Increases recognition - Maintaining consistent content across all networking platforms significantly increases exposure to other eLearning professionals, which can lead to new opportunities.
- Builds authority - Keeping a consistent profile builds authority as an eLearning professional, as the targeted audience knows what to expect and can receive valuable insights and shared knowledge about the industry.
- Differentiates you from others - Consistent content presents eLearning professionals as reliable and authentic, which helps to differentiate you from the competition within the industry.
Final Remarks on Personal Branding
So, what is personal branding? We can now establish that personal branding involves recognising essential elements, including a unique selling point, a compelling brand story, online presence management, and a distinct visual style. Collectively, these elements contribute to creating a memorable and impactful brand identity in the eLearning industry.
Building a personal brand involves strategic steps, such as identifying a unique value proposition, utilising professional networks on social media platforms like LinkedIn, X, and Instagram, and creating an online eLearning portfolio to showcase relevant work. These initiatives help eLearning specialists express their unique skills, values, and expertise, ultimately distinguishing them from others in the field.
Consistency is vital to maintaining a solid personal brand. By adhering to a regular content posting schedule and ensuring uniformity across various platforms, eLearning specialists can build trust, increase recognition, establish authority, and differentiate themselves from others in the industry.
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