Is it really important?
When I first heard the phrase “Personal Brand” back in 2011 the first thing that came to my mind was a corporation: like, Target, Nike, Apple or a Social Media celebrity. The phrase seemed like a marketing strategy that had no place in my everyday life. However, I can’t deny that in today’s job market, it has immense relevance to young job-seekers. You might be thinking, “I’m not marketing a product or running a business, so why in the world do I need to be bothered with branding?” However, in the sea of applicants that comprise the job market, you are indeed marketing a product… yourself.
As a young millennial joining the professional workforce it’s important to stand out, but the competition is tough, and there are a million people who could do your job. However, your future boss isn’t going to choose you because he knows you’re the most qualified in your field. Your accumulated experience will speak for itself but it’s tough when you’re being compared to someone with years of experience, formidable work history and is willing to take an entry or junior level position because they’ve been laid off. We live in a world where conformity and conventionality have been substituted by individuality. You’ll be chosen because of your knowledge, spunky personality, and growth potential.
In order for people to make a bigger impact in their career, it’s super important for individuals to create and develop a personal brand.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is defined as the “process by which individuals differentiate themselves in order to stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique skill, professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal”. Personal branding is how you market yourselves to others; it varies from how you impress your boss in order to get hired all the way to how you persuade a friend into changing their mind to see a movie of your choice.
Personal Branding helps to give you control over people’s perception of you in order to provide a lasting impression that perpetuates an image conducive to your persona. Your brand includes how you behave, interact, and dress, all the way to your body image; it markets your individuality. By creating a personal brand individuals can boost recognition as experts in their field, by establishing a reputation and building credibility as a professional.
Your brand is unique because it’s tailored to your niche. The goal of personal branding is to highlight your attributes and differentiate yourself in order to reach your career objective. Whether you’re a student or professional, make your value visible via your brand. Positioning yourself in a way that makes you stand out from your peers is vital to advancing your career.
Here are a few tips to get you started, just in case you don’t know where to start:
3 Steps to building your brand:
You must establish your specific skill set in order to perfect and build your brand. For some people, this may require a small amount of self-discovery. Start by identifying your value proposition. Knowing what you stand for is crucial because it provides the platform for what you want to represent. Self-discovery is necessary to learning your niche because it identifies what makes you valuable in order to give yourself a credible position in the marketplace.
Deﬁne Your Objectives: Your personal brand should relate directly to your career or your career goals. Be specific about your aspirations.
–> Ask yourself: “What do you want to be?
Where do you want to be? And how do you plan to get there?”
Be very clear on what your goals are and then shape your brand to help you reach that goal.
Secondly one must create their brand. The same way corporations brand their products is how you can brand yourself. Creating your brand could be as simple as writing a blog, business cards, a good resume, building your Social Media platforms all the way to creating an extensive portfolio; or all of the above! By having a distinctive brand, you differentiate yourself from others in order to stand out.
Self-promotion is essential; communication is a key component to your personal brand. Your marketability is what makes you compelling and makes clients want to select you for the job. Promote yourself through a personal website, Social Media and through good networking. Networking is how one establishes a beneficial relationship with other business people or potential clients. This can be done by attending a conference for your profession, or by just connecting with people on social networks. It does not matter where you network as long as you are meeting people and getting your name out there in a way in which you want to be represented. However, your brand must be consistent and constantly reinforced so that it establishes a sense of stability. This shows others that you are working to maintain your brand. As your career grows or changes make sure your brand grows too. Your brand represents you, so you want to change other current perception to represent your desired image.
However personal branding has a few downsides; because it’s time-consuming to maintain and impersonal. Personal branding can be time-consuming because perfecting your brand cannot be crafted overnight it can take weeks, months, and even years to perfect a brand. In addition to the time it takes to create your brand; a lot of time to goes into networking and getting yourself recognized. Another downside is that when you brand yourself in a business image sometimes you can lose a little bit of your personal image. When meeting potential clients and networking most people like to connect on a personal level, but when you brand yourself you have a fixed image. Therefore one must act accordingly to their brand at all times.
Branding yourself can have many benefits, for example, you can demand your price. Employers will know that you can benefit the company because they know when they hired you that you are a specialist in your field. For the same reason, people choose Coca-Cola over the store brand, they want the “real deal.” These specialized sets of skills will allow you to demand a special pay rate because no one else will be able to complete the job like you can.
Personal branding gives you control over your career because it allows you to differentiate yourself from others seeking the same job title. Your brand is how you identify yourself; everything you do must be coherent. When you put something on a social network, or through any other form of media, it is vital to relate to your brand. When employers hire you they need to know that you are serious. They will see this by how you present yourself as it relates to your brand. This will also serve as a basis for building a credible reputation. There are a bunch of people who have already proven how personal branding has worked for them and given them more leverage in their field. With dedication and focus, a good personal brand can be accomplished!