In a pile of resumes, how confident are you that your personal message and distinguishing factors will stand above the rest?
Without a solid personal brand in place, you will get lost in the noise of your competition. Your brand is your one fighting chance to stand out.
So, what does it take to create a solid, impactful personal brand? To get branding right, you first have to understand what is and what it isn’t.
Personal branding, moves away from the famous results-driven, detail-oriented resume jargon, and captures the heart of who you are and what you stand for. And who you are matters more than anything else. Beyond degrees, grade point averages and certifications earned, companies are looking to hire the right people for the right job, which means you have to put in the work to reveal your purpose, your value and the promise of what you can deliver. Your personal brand and reputation will either draw people in or push them to run in the opposite direction.
You may have never thought about your own personal brand, but you’ve certainly connected and engaged with corporate brands. Consider the brand messages that power tech-giants like Google, Amazon and Apple – corporations that have made billions by combining great products and services with an equally powerful brand. Each have been able to create effective, memorable brands that resonate individually, and also convert into significant revenue gains.
Your personal brand can be seen the same way. Skills and ability matter, but those who have the right skills and a powerful, effective and memorable personal brand, rise above the rest. The combination of talent and branding can open the door to the career and life you desire for yourself. But a weak, ineffective personal brand can easily be the catalyst that stalls your professional career dead in its tracks.
What can you do now to build out your personal brand message in a way that spotlights your value and separates you from your competition? You’ve got to get to heart of who you are and what you have to offer others, the workplace and the world.
It’s time to make sure you are getting it right. Answer these four questions and see where you measure up when it comes to personal branding.
What do you want to known for?
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, explains personal branding with one simple question: What do others say about you when you aren’t in the room? Whatever the answer is, that’s your personal brand.
Make the time to evaluate what it is that others think about you. Ask your co-workers, friends, and mentors how they would define who you are and what you stand for. The feedback you gain will be the foundation you need to craft your personal brand message – the words and phrases you use over and over again to reinforce the essence of who you are. The message you create should encapsulate your unique value and your core competencies.
What does Google have to say about you?
Your personal brand goes beyond what you want people to say and feel about you. In today’s technology-first economy, your internet footprint plays a significant role in your personal brand.
Do a quick search on yourself and review the results that come through. If you aren’t happy with the results, start making changes now. You can begin by improving your LinkedIn presence and by cleaning up your social networks that house photos or status’ that you would prefer an employer never lay eyes on. But don’t stop with just your social media channels. Consider building your search engine optimization by creating a website – preferably one that uses your first and last name – to house your resume and body of work. The results that land on Google matter. It’s up to you to make sure that those results accurately reflect your personal brand.
What relationships can you start investing in today?
Too often, many say that networking is ineffective and a waste of time. That is a mistake. And while each investment of time attending a networking event may not immediately convert into a beneficial contact today, it may tomorrow. It is critical to look at networking as a long-term play and that it is an effort toward creating lasting relationships that will help build bridges as your career transitions into different roles and organizations.
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard the value of networking, and it certainly won’t be the last. One of the most valuable things you can do for your career is to begin building a bench of professional relationships on an ongoing and consistent basis. Those relationships will act as a reinforcement to your person brand. The more relationships you create the easier it is for your personal brand to solidify and take root.
Personal branding gives you the key to unlock the life you want. Invest the time now to create a personal brand message that helps you stand above the rest. Doing so, will create new levels of opportunity as you build your career.