You have probably heard how important it is to think about and manage your own personal brand. According to Wikipedia:
"Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization".
Why is that important? Well, just like companies can tie their sales to a good brand reputation and proper brand exposure:
"An employee or job seeker’s career progress can be heavily influenced by a healthy professional brand and the ability to get the word out about oneself".
That’s a lot to think about, isn’t it? Especially with the busy lives we all lead today. In this blog, we will tackle the first issue. How does one even develop a personal brand?
STEP 1 -- IDENTIFY YOUR BRAND:
The first step is to identify your current brand. How can you do that?
One way is by doing a little self-reflection. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
What am I most known for?
What are my top skills or strengths?
What is my reputation? If I were to walk out of the room, what would people say about me?
How do people benefit by working with me?
What is the difference between me and others professionally?
What is the "WOW factor" in me that others notice?
In what ways do I provide value to the business or the organization?
2. Another option is to ask the above questions of people you respect.
Do a little survey. Send an email to a list of 8-10 people you trust.
Compile the results. Most of us have a very hard time describing our own brand. Getting input from people who are close to you can help you see yourself clearly.
3. Lastly, you could take a risk and ask a leader you respect to be honest with you.
This is not for the faint of heart, but it can be really illuminating. Think of a leader you have worked for either currently or in the past. Ask for time on his or her calendar. Let him or her know that you are looking for very honest feedback about your reputation and your brand. Try to listen with an open mind. You might get some great insight that will help you moving forward.
STEP 2 – MAKE ADJUSTMENTS:
Once you have identified your personal brand, it is time to evaluate if you have the brand you need to achieve the career progress you are seeking.
"Building a good brand reputation happens over time and is comprised of both what you do and what you say".
Are you known for the things you want to be known for?
Is there anything you need to change?
Are behaving in ways that enhance your brand?
For example, if you want your next position to be a leadership role, it helps if people start seeing you take charge of things.
Are there actions you can take or new skills you can learn that will help build your brand in the right direction?
When you describe yourself, are you promoting yourself in a way that aligns with future goals?
When you are posting on social media, are the things in those posts aligning with the brand reputation you are seeking?
Putting it all together:
It is easy to operate on autopilot in our careers. With our crazy lives, we often don’t stop and take stock. Spending a little time reflecting on your personal brand can pay dividends in terms of your career progress. Making a few minor adjustments in how you behave and how you describe yourself could really improve your odds of achieving that next career goal.
I would love to hear about your ideas for identifying and making adjustments to your personal brand below.