Gone are the days when only businesses needed to be a brand. Today, we are all judged speedily, often based on an online profile. Which makes it important to create a strong and cohesive personal brand for yourself – to be known for who you are and what you stand for, not your job or title.
Having a strong personal brand can help you stand out in the workplace and positively impact your career trajectory. Your personal brand makes you more visible, helps you set and achieve goals, grow professionally and personally. Just as businesses need to be clear about what they stand for, your personal brand needs to highlight what you want to be known for. How can you distill the sum total of your personality and capabilities to come up with a clear personal brand?
What’s your story?
If you don’t define your own brand, it will be done for you, by how others view you. Be in charge of your own story.
Remember that ice breaker/ interview question – “where do you see yourself in 5 years/ 10 years?” Ask yourself that when attempting to identify the components of your personal brand – where and also how do you see yourself. Start with what motivates you. And consider the answers to these questions:
- What is my raison d’etre for getting up in the morning?
- What do I want to be known for/ as? What do I stand for and what are my values?
- What are the characteristics and traits that get me attention, and which friends/ co-workers/ family have complimented me for? Which ones have I been called out on?
- What are my strengths personally, and professionally? What can be considered my area(s) of expertise?
- What are situations/ projects where I have needed help or have not done so well?
Represent yourself, the right way
Once you have arrived at the answers to who and what you are and what you want to be known for, tailor your personal brand story to match them. Your brand should guide your actions and behaviors. Remember, your reputation is an essential aspect. Creating and managing the impression people have of you is thus all-important. But it is vital to be yourself – relatable and authentic. This also means being seen as credible, trustworthy, and consistent.
Consistency is integral to creating a good personal brand. Ensure your voice is the same across all your social media channels. Employers and recruiters head not just to your LinkedIn profile, but do a check of all social media assets linked to a prospective employee. Having a professional page that speaks to your personal brand but a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook account, or YouTube channel that is not in line with your projected image will adversely affect you. However, your personal brand extends beyond your online presence. Whom you associate with at work can also affect perceptions – something to keep in mind when looking to tell your personal brand story.
Remember, your personal brand is not static or unchangeable; don’t worry about limiting yourself when creating that narrative. Your personal brand will evolve with your career, as your life experiences color and shape you.