Build your Brand with Personal Branding
Have you heard of personal branding? If you’re a job seeker or careerist you will have heard the term “personal brand” lately but what is it and how can it help you gain the job of your dreams? This article first appeared on Employers Connect and is republished here with permission.
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, says “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. In today’s day and age, you only have a few minutes, or sometimes even a few seconds, to capture someone’s attention – whether that’s a potential recruiter, a manager that might get you a promotion, or a colleague who could assist you with a task. Nailing your personal brand will give you the best shot at gaining their attention.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is all about YOU. It’s “your story” but it’s also more than that. Your personal brand will include elements like your professional experience (MYOB, coding or management skills) and it might also include your passions (charity work, the great outdoors) and it may even inform what you plan to do next – your “big picture thinking”. Your personal brand is a snapshot of “you”.
Why do you need to create your personal brand?
Think of it like your “elevator pitch”. An elevator pitch is your 60 second spiel as to what you have to sell, in most cases – yourself and your skills. “An elevator pitch is a conversation, or an ice breaker, that will (hopefully) lead into a deeper dialogue about the functionality, and specialty, of what you and your company can offer,” explains entrepreneur Dwight Peters.
Your personal brand is a bit like this – it’s a mission statement and a vision statement all rolled into one. “You typically have just 60 seconds to leave an exciting, impactful and meaningful impression with whomever you come in contact with. So make them count,” says Peters.
How can identifying your personal brand get you a job?
So often in our careers we get stuck in the wrong jobs, thinking they are a good fit for us, when they really aren’t. Often the things we are good at, aren’t the things that make us happy and the things we love to do don’t bring in a paycheque.
When you identify your personal brand, you are more likely to attract the right types of people and roles to your door, as you are being more authentic. When you truly know who you are, what you stand for and what you’re aiming for, finding a great career match is easy.
Here’s how to build your personal brand
Let’s get started on creating your own personal brand. It helps to write things down and brainstorm. You may want to use images, colours and logos as well as words as some of us are more visual people.
Define your target audience
First off – who do you want to hire you, or what are you trying to achieve? If you’re starting a new business or going for a corporate job, you will have a very different target audience than if you’re aiming to work in aged care or education. Think of who you are trying to talk to and imagine them very clearly.
Envisage what type of candidate they would want and find ways that you can fit yourself into this category. “Spend some time uncovering your personal brand. Have the courage to embrace the things that make you unique. What differentiates you from your peers is exactly the message that will hit home with the decision makers you’re trying to influence,” says Meg Guiseppi, a well-known online personal branding expert. Knowing who you are talking to is a great first start.
Connect with mentors
One good way to assist you to nail down your personal brand elements is to think about who your influencers are. These can be professional people, visionaries, people from history and people you look up to in your daily working life. Create a list and breakdown exactly what attributes of these mentors you admire.
Look into your network as well. Build up your personal brand by knowing who can help you solve problems and keep abreast of industry changes. Follow blogs and newsletters of the industry you are trying to crack into to keep up with the jargon. The graphic design industry will use very different language, buzzwords and tools than the building and construction industry.
Discover your authentic self
Who are you, really? Yes, it’s a very big question but it’s one worth asking, and asking often. As part of your personal branding plan, create a list of what motivates you, what skills you have, what “blockers” or challenges you have and what unique talents you have to offer.
Also consider what you like doing. You may be a great manager but dislike being the one to make big decisions every day. You might be a whiz on Excel but want a job role where you aren’t staring at spreadsheets all day. Work out the linkages between your talents and goals.
Live your beliefs
Now that you have some idea of who you are and what motivates you, you can begin to really live your beliefs. Your personal brand is not set – it can evolve and change and grow to meet your personal and professional needs.
“Only you can determine how you want your life to unfold,” points out Quick Sprout in their terrific Personal Branding Guide. “You can’t control every aspect of your life, but you can create a long-term vision and develop steps to achieve that vision.”
Do you need help building your personal brand? Alyce Vayle can help. She specialises in content creation, goal setting, engaging messaging and more. If your personal brand could do with a refresh, contact Alyce here with the subject line “Perssonal Brand”.