Getting What You Want from a Personal Brand
Some people think personal branding is junk promotion – a pretty filter on sketchy people. We all know a co-worker that looks good on paper but has a lousy work ethic. Or the boss that keeps getting promoted while treating people poorly.
I understand the perspective and have a million stories to share on the topic, but I still believe in personal branding. Branding yourself isn’t about the sleekest-looking LinkedIn profile or the priciest suit; it’s about how your audience views you and your accomplishments and how you solve their problems. So, it’s not about retouching you or your work – it’s talking authentically and illustrating your value to a prospective company or referral source in your network.
As with business marketing, an effective brand uses many tactics to inform their audience’s views of its products or services. There are many ways to craft your brand tactics, and I divide them into two phases: the image and the reputation. In general, image creation covers promotional tactics, while reputation development is rooted in interactions and exploration.
CREATING AN IMAGE
Before creating the promotional materials needed for career development, I first work with clients to analyze their current offering. I use a modified marketing SWOT analysis, skill gap assessments, competitive profiling (those after the same job), and even personality assessments to begin the work of developing a unique personal brand vision for my clients. The image phase products are those things that people see or hear from you directly, such as:
Personal brand statements and narratives
While you might think these items are fluff, remember that defining your uniqueness – the way you add value to a company – in your statement, resume, and profile is critical to building trust. Your brand image is the first step in talking authentically with your audience.
BUILDING YOUR REPUTATION
Many people finish the image portion of their brand and can’t figure out why recruiters aren’t waiting in line to interview them. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your brand can’t rely on the image alone. The next phase of brand development is where the real work begins: developing your reputation.
Networking - strategic connections, informational interviews, and giving and receiving recommendations
Digital Promotion - creating content, reposting relevant articles, and commenting on others’ posts
Research - deep dives on a prospective company’s vision, outlook projects, and pain points
Interviewing - looking the part, preparation and practice, and thank you notes
DEFINE WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE
Your work experience, skillsets, personality, background, and general presence are your brand attributes. Blend those characteristics with how you solve problems for your current company and future employers, and you have your unique personal brand.
As a certified career coach, Hillary guides extraordinary people and their personal brands. She’s a career solutionista that helps clients discover their unique worth to find new employment, pivot industries, or move toward cause-oriented work. When Hillary’s not busy coaching amazing people, she rides bikes, learns about wine, cooks for friends, and travels globally with her family. Find out more at www.careersolutionista.com.