It's for sure that you've heard about Personal Branding, there are many workshops related to this important aspect of a person's career; Tom Peters, a Management guru said "We are CEOs of our own companies, to be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU".
Personal Branding describes a process that will difference you from other job seekers, it's a branch of sentiments and actions that people attach you when your name is mentioned (positive or negative). Creating your personal brand implies that you must have consistency in being the same in every context, whether it might be at social media, face to face interaction and consistency in what you believe.
Maybe at this point you might wonder, why do I really have to care this? This branding aspect should not be for, as its name says, brands like Pepsi, Coke, etc. In fact it was in the past, now due to the business, academic, and employment world is more competitive, you must manage your own reputation online (social network) and on real life. It might happen that when you apply for a job, the interviewer or employer will Google you before the interview or your employer is going to be aware on what you're doing too.
How to start with your personal brand
Remember that since you're in business, you're already doing your personal branding, remember that the global marketplace forces everyone to be a networker, a marketer and an expert; so in order to do it correctly you need to define your brand first, it doesn´t matter your age and experience if you start early to create your own brand it will be better. A list with words that could describe you will help; also you must consider those words that other people might use to describe you.
Think specially in:
- What makes you different?
- What have you done lately?
- What do I have to offer that no one else can?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How would your current/former boss and/or colleagues describe you?
- What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?
What do I want to be famous for?
- Can you define your target market, in other words, what industries or professions are you focused on for new employment or career growth?
You need to find a way to describe yourself and consider the target audience, to achieve a great description you should be authentic to discover your branding you need to explore what you want for life, which are you goals, a mission, vision and interests. As you create your brand you must include a branding toolkit that consists in elements that help your brand allowing people to view what you're this toolkit may include business cards, resumes- cover letters, portfolio, blog/website, facebook profile (you can have profiles in different social networks), linkedln profile, email address, etc.
Then you should concentrate in your PRESENCE, it doesn´t only include things you write, but also everything you produce. Consider the social media presence and promote your branding with its tools, you can use the same avatar for all your accounts so you'll be easy to identify.
Consider that your personal brand is influenced in what others say about you, you'll find online many tools to recognize those people and what they say about you or your products; all the relationships you build online and offline are important to promote your brand, and have a feedback about it. The people in your social network include your coworkers, family, business friends, twitter followers, readers, etc.
Finally, a personal brand will have success and recognition according to the quality of your work; it's possible that you might start without experience and great popularity but, for example, if you are dedicated to blogging, you must practice, blog a lot and gain more experience at this activity. Expertise takes long time, and this process never ends. If you consider yourself as an expert and promote yourself, but you're not one, be careful because anytime you'll be exposed.
That's why finally we recommend you to be honest above all; and maintain everything what you're creating for your brand as you grow and mature, if your brand prospers, be aware of new publications and references to it.
Another important recommendation is to live your personal brand, the way you present to the world online must be reflected in your personal live, both things must not being apart, because your real life must show that you're awesome. Remember that a strong personal brand isn´t going to happen by itself so you need to commit yourself in this task.