If you want to truly stand out in your industry, build the right personal brand
Meaningful and rewarding careers are built on more than just developing skills and gaining experience. Frankly, those are things that most people do in their working lives, just by showing up for work, day after day. Unfortunately, that habit is not enough to help you to stand out from the crowd and really achieve the career advancement you need to meet your goals. To achieve that, you need to create the type of personal brand that distinguishes you from everyone else around you.
In this post, we'll explain personal branding and its important role in boosting your career success. We'll also provide some important tips to help you to build a personal brand that can help to promote your career advancement through effective professional image management.
What is a personal brand?
When most people hear the word “branding,” they automatically think of how companies market themselves. Every successful business focuses on creating an image that reflects its values, its actions, and its efforts to serve customers. Strong brands get noticed, earn respect, and attract customers and revenue. Weak brands fall by the wayside. So, what does that have to do with you as an employee or job candidate?
As it turns out, you already have your own personal brand, whether you realize it or not. Every employer and coworker who has ever encountered you sees you in a certain way. They all have an image and understanding of what you stand for and what they can expect from you in any given interaction. Customers and vendors will also make these types of assessments, based on the personal brand that you project.
Why building a personal brand is so important for your career
The reality is that you are building a personal brand every day through your actions, words, responses, and even social media activity. Everything you do contributes to the building of that brand, so it's important to take control of that process and shape your own image. By doing so, you can enjoy many career benefits, including:
Increased internet visibility
Once you start focusing on your personal brand, your internet presence can help you to make relevant professional connections. Using sites like LinkedIn can help to promote your digital brand and make you more visible to recruiters and employers alike. That increased focus on your online brand can also ensure that you avoid unprofessional social media postings that might come back to haunt you in a future job search.
Recognition as an expert in your field
With a strong personal brand, you can position yourself as a trusted authority - an expert in your industry and job. Gaining that reputation for expertise can lead others to see you as a thought leader in your field. That too can attract the attention of recruiters, employers, and valuable network connections who will seek out your opinions.
Enhanced networking opportunities
If you struggle to make meaningful connections through networking, personal branding can help. Since your personal brand will focus on your values, abilities, achievements, and goals, that messaging will resonate with others. If people recognize that you have value as a network connection, they will be more likely to seek you out or respond to your networking outreach.
Superior career advancement
Creating your own personal brand has another positive benefit too: it can often help you to refine your career goals. Since your brand reflects your values, goals, achievements, and abilities, it can serve as a guide to help you to recognize the best opportunities for your own development and advancement.
How to build a personal brand: 7 tips
Before you can consciously build a personal brand, you need to figure out who you are. What are your strengths and motivations? Which roles do you enjoy playing? What have others noted about your abilities? Identify your unique selling proposition to figure out what value you can build your brand around.
Decide how you want others to see you
Remember that your personal brand not only defines who you are today, but who you ultimately want to be. Decide right now how you want others to perceive you and make a personal brand statement that sells that image. If other people were forced to describe you in just three words, what would those words be?
Identify your audience
It is also important to decide which audience you want to reach. Are you interested in creating a brand that targets recruiters, coworkers, or potential employers? If so, then make sure to focus on your LinkedIn profile and other social media. If you are a freelancer, on the other hand, you may want to consider a professional website to promote your identity too.
Think about how you can solve others' problems
Remember that people associate company brands with the problems that those companies can solve. Your personal brand should focus on how you can solve potential customer or employer problems. The whole idea of gaining recognition as an expert is to position yourself as a problem-solver in your field.
Build out your online presence in a consistent way
Make sure that all of your online platforms present a consistent image. That includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and any other accounts that you allow the public to access. If you use any social media for personal communications and postings, make sure that you change those privacy settings so that potential clients and employers don't see them.
Make sure that your real life image is consistent with your digital brand
It's also important to ensure that your real world image matches your digital personal brand. Always be mindful of your reputation and conduct yourself in a way that reinforces the brand you want others to see. Every word you say and every action that you take contributes to that branding.
Rebrand yourself as you grow and develop in your career
Finally, be aware of the need to adjust your brand as your career changes. As you gain new expertise, incorporate that into your personal brand and always be mindful of how those experiences and skills set you apart from your peers. Change is good and you need to keep your brand up to date if you want to stay ahead of the competition!
Leverage your personal brand for career advancement
As you chart your career path, don't forget to focus on the image you present to the rest of the world. Your personal brand can be a powerful tool that will open many doors to career advancement. Make sure that the brand you build for yourself highlights your expertise and value - and watch your career reach new heights!
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