Which attributes come to mind when you think of the following public figures? Dwayne Johnson Tom Brady Billie Eilish Mitt Romney
I’m sure you had at least a one-word association for each. Now you may think your mind made this association on its own. But when you follow their careers closely, you realise it has always been their deliberate endeavour to plant those ideas in your mind. It’s their brand. Your brand can make or break your future, be it your career or other areas of life. So let’s explore why personal branding dramatically influences how you present yourself.
Making a case for personal branding
In a dog-eat-dog world, how do you set yourself apart from the cut-throat competition? You’re probably just as qualified as your peers, but why should a company recruit you to their team instead of one of them? It usually comes down to impressions. We know the importance of a first impression. But for an image to be sustainable, you cannot fake it. Here comes the relevance of personal branding, and it is a long game.
Personal branding strategist Claire Bahn emphasises this long game for sustainable career results. So by the time you attend that interview, your committed personal branding process should be complete. However, opportunities exist everywhere, and we can’t always know who will notice us and which new role will come our way. So, how do you make yourself known as the best resource in the employment market?
What personal branding should aim for
You begin by understanding how others perceive you. Suppose it’s different from the way you see yourself. Then, you work out the qualities of yourself that you want to promote and consciously highlight those. Seeking an expert’s help would be great, but at the same time, this is nothing you cannot achieve on your own.
Contrary to what most believe, personal branding is not about puffing yourself up. Instead, it is a way of inviting others to form positive opinions about you through purposeful actions. Regardless of your academic journey, you can demonstrate out in the world that you care. Of course, it would help if you showed how you’ve cared for things before. These can refer to instances when you committed to causes and projects and led them towards fruitful development.
Setting up your brand
No two life experiences are the same. Even under the same circumstance, two individuals react differently from each other. You must cull out this individuality from your experiences to discover your one-of-a-kind story. This story needs to be memorable, appealing, endearing, and authentic.
It could be an iconic moment of your life which transformed your outlook or even your personality altogether. It has to be genuine and reflect you in its entirety, though. While your story remains the same, your narration and tone must change according to your audience. Brand building has many intricacies and calls for a clear-cut strategy. Here are some aspects to consider to build your brand with discipline:
(1) Earning trust
You need to convince companies that you’re the one that’s going to get the job done. To build this trust, your approach must also be authentic to the relations you nurture. Networking this way will help you build trust within the industry between you and potential employers. Such networking, much like brand collaborations, is particularly effective.
(2) Launch your own PR campaign
Companies typically google candidates as a first line of background checks, starting with their LinkedIn profile. So, be your own digital PI to know precisely what they see. Look yourself up online, make your LinkedIn profile public, and see what search results reveal about you. Remember, companies will go through any virtual platform to understand who you are. In most cases, your fashion sense, language, and other traits are ready for them to access from the internet. So why not turn it into a valuable practice?
Since they are likely to take a call about you in seconds and form opinions about you, you need to be careful about how you represent yourself. Delete those wild pics from when you were a lot younger and instead showcase your successes without going overboard with the flaunting. For example, posting group pictures of events where you played a central role can highlight teamwork and other valuable qualities.
It’s also time to revive those with empty Instagram pages and dormant Facebook profiles so that you have a more notable online presence. Not having or updating an online presence looks odd these days. And let’s not forget, you could be losing out on great opportunities to control your narrative.
(3) Find the relevance
Even after you become a part of the company, don’t stop discovering common areas of interest between you and your organisation. Such synchronised goals will make for a mutually beneficial relationship. To figure this out, you must anticipate their needs.
Yes, there is no substitute for hard work. Still, you must also ensure your future employers know you have the grit, experience, and success rate to lead the company even further. Try to reflect this on your social media presence so that whether you’re up for a promotion or trying for another job, they can immediately look at what you’ve uploaded and root for you.
Perks of personal branding
(1) It opens doors for you
Getting to know you means more chances of people vouching for you. With a clear brand promise, you attract the right people and opportunities to make your dreams come true.
(2) More wins!
Once you understand what others appreciate in you, you realise your strengths. This realisation can give you the edge and the confidence to negotiate or win an argument. It hands you the perfect advantage.
(3) Bigger bucks
As your brand grows in strength, so does the monetary value placed on it. With more wins and promotions, you also earn more. In addition, your unique skills and voice will add value to the company, which will further add to your brand value. Now that’s a win-win!
If personal branding feels like an awkward mask, set aside your reservations. In general, we come across differently to different people. We’re not the same person with our parents as we are with our friends, and that’s perfectly normal, not phoney. If you believe you are the right fit for a job, then make sure to reach the right contacts. Employees of a company help maintain its reputation and must represent the company’s values and modus operandi. They need a suitable medium to elevate their brand and build a niche. Couldn’t you be that person?
Have you worked on a focused personal brand yet? Would you try personal branding out? We’re eager to know.