With the social media revolution underway there are new buzz words being created and thrown around usually to describe something you most likely will already be doing without knowing it. I’m talking about Personal Branding.
What is Personal Branding is it important?
Type ‘personal brand’ into a search engine and you get a plethora of results from what is personal branding, how to create your personal brand to maintaining your personal brand.
Many of us will already have started building our brand via the likes of our CV’s, LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook etc, now there is a term attached to it in the form of Personal Branding. The focus is on the message our various online and physical profiles send out to others about ourselves and how they can benefit or hinder our careers. Is this person driven, are they a successful Accountant with a desire to become a partner in a lucrative company. This may sound over the top but is information both prospective employees and customers will want to know about you even before they have met you.
We hear about how the social networking sites in reality are not as social as you thought them to be, with the need to be cautious about what you post and who the information is visible to. With the new social media driven world we currently live in, we as people have become marketable commodities. Appearance, skills, experience, online persona, are all segments grouped together to create the brand that is you.
Depending on the industry you choose to work in, branding yourself in such a way may not seem essential. Yet with 45% of US people checking out a company’s various brand pages before deciding to buy one of their products then why not an individual before deciding to hire them?
Sending your CV to apply for a job, attending an interview, going for a promotion, these are all examples of how in previous times you marketed yourself to demonstrate why you are the better person for a job. This is no longer enough, companies have marketing strategies in place to promote their products, and the same applies to individuals.
There is plenty of advice and tips out there on how to build your brand, though the majority of it comes down to common sense. In case you are stumped below are some questions you should ask yourself.
- How do you want to be perceived by others?
- What career path do you want to take?
- What are my future goals?
- What are my strengths / personal attributes (organised, problem solver)
- What are my interests? Hobbies, sports etc
Take your time to figure out the answers to the above questions. Once answered, you can then get to work on building your profile.
- Are your social profiles complete and free from anything incriminating?
- Do your social profiles have a professional looking picture?
- Have you written any articles / blogs?
- Do your online profiles contain links to these publications?
- What does an online search of your name return?
- Do you have a Personal Brand statement that accurately and concisely describe you and the direction you are heading in?
- Are you using an appropriate email address ie one that contains your name?
All of the above will help you build a brand that will be memorable to your targeted audience. (Prospective employers, customers)
Online profiles are a part of brand building but not the only tools out there. Not necessary but handy to have are business cards that have your short snappy personal statement and contact details on. These will come in use when you attend networking events.
You don’t have to suddenly become a narcissist, but your appearance is a part of your brand. As much as we dislike it people are judged by their appearance and seen as a reflection on their ability to carry out certain tasks. All depending on the type of brand you have created ensure your physical appearance reflects it.
If nothing else this process will help you find out the things you enjoy doing and want to do more off, and help you set future career goals. You will discover your strengths and weaknesses, that you may choose to work on. Once created your brand is not set in stone, as with everything you will continue to develop it, as you grow so will your personal brand.