In the world of competitive corporate environments, developing and selling your personal brand is the key to success. An impressive personal brand helps you bag challenging high positions and place you at your highest selling potential.
What is Personal Branding?
Self-packaging must be based on the needs of your employers and customers. The ‘unique’ you that includes your personality, qualifications, personal attribute, values, ethics and your social identity forms your personal brand.
To uncover the Unique you, you must:
• Figure out your passion and strengths at work.
• Be distinctive. Not artificial. Be honest to your own personality and do not copy someone else’s brand.
• Write your brand message with accuracy. Be clear. Not boring.
• Do not bore your employer with philosophical talks.
• Identify ways to be visible to your employer though online mediums.
Why Is It Important to Identity and Develop the unique ‘You’?
Most people do not focus on their personal brand. They hardly have time or interest to nurture their unique self. Most of the times, our career goals are driven by our parent’s desires, peer pressure, or the success stories of our seniors. It is important to understand that every individual is unique. If you develop your unique personality, the uniqueness makes your more sellable.
Choosing and progressing on someone else’s career path has a negative impact on your growth, both personally and professionally. By flaunting your own strengths, you can enhance your value. Developing self-awareness and working towards your most desirable goals will make you feel satisfied. If your personality suits you, you create a visibility for yourself. Personal branding offers differentiation, control and power in your work. Despite these tough times during an economic slowdown, employees with a strong personal brand have less chances of getting laid off. They are more desirable.
Benefits of Having a Personal Brand
Having a personal brand offers many advantages including:
1. You discover the unique characteristics in you
2. You learn about your own strengths
3. Ensures consistency in your career profile
4. Helps you grow faster and in the right direction
5. Makes decision-making easy for you
6. Gives better reasons to employers for hiring and retaining you
7. Allows you to enjoy your own work and life
How to Build your Personal Brand
Identify your brand.
It is important to know what your unique personal attributes are. A good way to identify this is from compliments people give to you. Do they say that you are an excellent speaker? Or do they talk about your extremely good selling skills? Identify your attributes and develop your goals accordingly. Write your personal brand statement, unique characteristics and strengths.
Create your Personal Brand Toolkit
Once you know what your career goals are, it is important to reflect your brand in materials that employers can see. You must spend time to develop the following items as a part of your toolkit:
1. Business Cards: It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO of a company, a high profile corporate professional, a public sector employee or a college fresher; a business card is the most important item to help people remember you. Include your corporate logo and contact details on the business card and ensure that you exchange it with key people you meet.
2. Job Portfolio: It is not enough to have a resume and a cover letter alone. You must brand yourself through an impressive job portfolio that has a resume in chronological or functional order, a professional cover letter that convinces the employer why you must be hired, references of key people in industry, details of relevant trainings, certifications and professional qualifications. You must give reasons to the employer to hire you. Your portfolio must reflect the unique you.
3. Personal Blog: It is a good idea to express your feelings about a subject or write your thoughts about a particular industry issue on your blog. A blog is your identity. You chose what you write about. There is a high probability that your blog will be read by your employer while making the hiring decision. Hence, you must be careful about what you write on your blog. A well-planned, well-written blog can have a positive impact on your perspective employer.
4. Professional Online Profile: Use a forum like LinkedIn to put details of your qualifications, experience and skill-sets. Your LinkedIn database is very important and must be chosen carefully. You must post regular updates about your job, achievements, trainings or certifications as the entire network gets notifications about your post. You never know, there could be somebody in your network you can make an excellent reference for you.
5. Social Media Profiles: Develop professional social media profiles that do not exhibit any vulgar, child-like or obscene picture or thoughts. Social media sites are gaining a lot of popularity with employers. Employers do a third-party verification of your profile and online presence. Hence, it is important that you have a decent professional social media profile on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Have a Formal Wardrobe and Grooming
Do not ignore your clothing. As much as it is important to have an inner personality, it is equally important to have an outer personality that is determined by professional dressing and neat grooming. You must wear professional clothes to work and have a neatly done hair style. People must remember you as a smart, hygienic person rather than somebody who is filthy and ignorant of his own self.
Obtain an Official Email Address
Do not overlook this important aspect of your professional brand. Often people have email addresses containing words like rock star, cool, fun-unlimited, etc. It is okay to use such email addresses with friends or family but you must not use such email addresses in your resume or while communicating with your employer. Your email address must be official and be comprised of your name and/or education.