Why and how to develop your personal brand
The times when you competed for a job only through interviews and with a resume in hand are over. And I do not mean that the resume is no longer used, but what has passed on is the idea that a candidate is only defined by their professional and educational experience.
Currently, other abilities such as your “soft skills” and the positioning of your personal brand carry more weight than you imagine. It not only defines you as a candidate for a position, but you can also create your own brand to find clients, become a thought leader, and have a better professional image that opens doors for you.
It is essential to strategically design your personal brand and create one that helps you advance in your career and in your life. When done effectively, a strong personal brand creates new opportunities and connections that can change your life.
What is personal branding?
The concept of personal branding was born as a technique to get a job. Tom Peters is considered one of the precursors of this term, following a book he published in 1997 called “The Brand Called You.”
Your personal brand is the way in which people distinguish you from others. Each action you take allows you to communicate certain things with people, to make a brand of yourself, as if you were a company. It allows you to differentiate yourself, position yourself and achieve your goals.
However, to do so, it is not enough to “just be yourself.” You must reflect and create a strategy to achieve specific goals, define a communication style for the audience you want to address, sell yourself as a product with unique attributes and define your values to stand out from the competition.
According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers select candidates by checking their social media, and 43% use it to verify current workers.
As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, says, “Your personal brand is what people say when you are away.” So, don’t keep waiting to develop your personal brand until you have a specific title or role or are looking for a new job or business opportunity. It is essential to design your personal brand strategically and create one that helps you grow in your personal and professional life, so here are some tips to help you get started:
Step 1: Define who you are and what you want to achieve.
It is essential to determine who you are and what skills you have. You can ask yourself questions like: What drives you? In what areas do you excel? What impact do you want to have? or where do you want to be five to ten years from now? The answers to these questions can change over time and in case you need some help, I suggest you approach a friend or family member to help you get insights on how they see you.
Step 2: Determine Your Unique Value Proposition
Take advantage of your differences; it is essential for building a personal brand. Your value proposition is a short statement that sums up what you uniquely offer that no one else does.
When it comes to defining your unique value proposition, there are two steps you need to take: understand your strengths to build your brand around them and share your experience and highlight your achievements (don’t be afraid to be your own ambassador). All of this builds credibility and trust.
Step 3: Define your audience
It is vitally important to define your niche and then work to attract your target audience. If you are starting a business, your personal niche should be well aligned with it. While it’s tempting to try and speak to the masses, interacting with fewer, more targeted prospects is more beneficial. It makes those conversations more engaging and increases the likelihood that a potential customer will convert (or that a recruiter will hire you).
If you have a corporate role, think about your internal and external stakeholders, whether they are your boss, colleagues on your team, people from other departments and clients. Every interaction you have is an opportunity to show your personal brand in action.
Step 4: Optimize (or create) your personal website and your social media profiles
First things first: optimize your personal website. If you don’t have one, it’s time to create it. On your personal website you can include information about yourself, past experiences and relevant achievements, as well as links to your social networks, value proposition, professional logo and / or professional photo, and if possible, I suggest you use testimonials or recommendations.
I also encourage you to audit your social networks: what information are you sharing? Is it relevant to your industry or the topics you would like to be known for? Think about what you can start sharing today that is aligned with your goals and your personal brand.
Step 5: Develop your content strategy
Providing valuable and really useful free content shows that you know what you are talking about. You don’t always have to create the content from scratch and you can share articles and other content related to your industry. You must make sure that the content you publish is useful and insightful. This will help you to be known as a trusted authority in your space.
While building a personal brand is a lot of constant work, the payoff is huge when you do it right; iCatalyze can help you build and promote your brand. Contact us for more details!