What A Personal Brand Can Do For Your Career
In the days before the internet, personal branding was unheard of. We would work tirelessly to formulate the perfect resume and that would be our most important tool for making a statement about who we are, what we are about, and what our credentials and qualifications are. Branding was considered a corporate thing, like Coke or McDonald’s.
However, the world wide web has changed all of that and now we all have personal brands – even when we haven’t tried to build one. Your personal brand is the professional image you have created for yourself through your online activities.
What is Your Personal Brand?
Personal branding entails capturing and promoting an individual’s strengths and uniqueness to a target audience. —Labrecque, L. I., Markos, E., & Milne, G. R. (2011).
Essentially, your personal brand is the online image that you have created of yourself. The global marketplace has become much more competitive with the advent of technology and more than ever before, it has become essential for people to be active and creative when it comes to not just establishing themselves as experts but also to set themselves apart.
Take a moment to Google your name. What are the results of that search? Whether the top results were your Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, your Myspace account from 2000, or a recipe you shared 15 years ago, these are the results that your colleagues, peers, and supervisors will see as well. This is your existing personal brand and it’s built of the things you have posted or been linked to in some way or another since the beginning of the internet.
Does it align with your career goals and establish you as an expert in your field? Does it accurately represent your values, expertise, and ambitions? If you haven’t represented yourself in meaningful ways online, then you have a valuable opportunity to begin to build your personal brand.
How does it affect our career?
When you’re seeking expertise in a particular field, you’re more likely to gravitate towards those with valuable and established reputations. Individuals who are well-known for their knowledge are the first ones you might seek out.
In the same way, colleagues, peers, and networkers seek out those who have established themselves as experts in their industry. Having a personal brand that is consistent and authentic shows the global marketplace that you are a an experienced, valuable asset.
2 Steps Towards An Effective Personal Brand
Before undertaking the task of building a personal brand, take time to identify the things associated with your name in an online search that might be unrelated to your area of expertise at best, unfavorable at worst.
Once you’ve done as much clean-up of your online history as possible, begin building.
Utilize Social Media
There are many ways that social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook can catapult your name to the top.
Be sure your profile includes your qualifications, specialties, certificates, degrees, and other pertinent information about your career and ambitions. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 467 million users worldwide. People can look at your LinkedIn profile and not just see your resume and credentials, but also those you are networked with and blog posts you may have authored.
Stay Consistent and Authentic
One of the most important aspects of having a personal brand is to have the same message about who you are, what you do, and what you’re passionate about across all platforms. Whether you have a YouTube channel or a Facebook page, being forthright about these things not only works to build your online presence, but also leads to substantive and powerful connections.
Authenticity is a meaningful way to stand out and be remembered. When people can identify not only your qualifications but also your personality, it allows you to simply be yourself when the opportunities to network arise.
Ultimately, your personal brand is a way to show people your uniqueness. By showcasing your areas of expertise as well as your personal attributes, you allow many more windows to open in your career that can lead you farther down the path to your ultimate goals.