The importance of personal branding in your career grows with the need to distinguish yourself and get attention for your goals, job-seeking or otherwise. This is a first look at personal branding and what you need to succeed with it.
What is personal branding?
Quickly think of someone you know. What qualities of theirs come to mind when you think of them? That’s their personal brand.
Most people don’t choose a personal brand. They live their life according to their needs and desires, leaving various impressions to people along the way. Sometimes, the impressions are so different that when those people meet each other, they wonder if they’re even talking about the same person.
The opposite happens with personal branding. When you choose what kind of impression you want to leave on people and continue doing so all the time, there’s no resulting confusion among the people you meet. Strangers who know of you can then recognize you more easily because you’ve given them common impressions.
How to make it work
1) Choose the right personal brand for you
For your personal brand to be genuine, it should come to you naturally and without requiring any extra effort on your part. You can portray yourself as the best at what you do, or as someone who brings a lot of value in a certain way, or as someone who can do something amazing. However, unless it’s credible and comes easily to you, your personal brand will just be an act and will eventually be exposed as such in ruining your credibility.
Choose your personal brand so people can consistently feel the same way when they meet you or experience your work. To get started, make a list of your strengths and determine how other people know of those strengths from your past actions and accomplishments. Next, make those strengths even more visible by e.g. blogging or Twittering about your profession in reinforcing your brand to what you’d like it to mean.
2) Reinforce that personal brand all the time
Once you’ve chosen a personal brand, live and perform by that brand. Every action you take and every impact you make should reinforce it. Your brand should be felt every time you communicate, whether face to face in an interview or by reading your resume. The way you act, the way you dress and where you appear in public should all match your brand. The way you act on the Internet, over email, on social networks, etc., and which sites you visit and use should also match your brand.
The more you reinforce your personal brand, the stronger your brand gets by increasing the number of people who have similar feelings about you. As more people become aware of your personal brand and appreciate you, it will be easier for you to reinforce your brand among those people and their peers, continuing the upward spiral.
As you move forward, your first signs of personal branding success will appear when you discover people you’ve never met who already know you and are happy to meet you.
Personal branding shouldn’t be an act. Choose a brand that matches who you are and that will be reinforced by you living your life the way you want to. Then make efforts to push yourself further in reinforcing your brand and growing the positive impact you leave on others around you.Free Bonus
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Personal branding in the blogosphere
For more in depth on personal branding, see the blogs of these personal branding gurus:
- Dan Schawbel’s PersonalBrandingBlog
- Rob Cuesta’s The Personal Branding Blog
- Hajj E. Flemmings’s the Brand YU Life