Although it may appear straightforward, condensing all of this information into a bite-sized introduction about yourself is a real skill that requires introspection, goal-setting and self-awareness.
While working for a reputable company may open those initial doors, it is the way in which you build relationships with clients and new contacts that ultimately determines winning their business or not. This is commonly referred to as your “personal brand”.
In this article, we will unveil how you can cultivate your personal brand and leverage it to advance in your career and your personal life.
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What is a personal brand?
Your personal brand is your reputation and calling card. It is a combination of those distinctive skills, strengths and values that make you unique as a person. It should focus on what sets youapart from the crowd. As such, every sort of interaction can give you an opportunity to show your strengths and what you can bring to the table. By regularly delivering this message, both in person and in social media, you will build a robust reputation that will serve as your ignature.
What is the difference between personal branding and professional branding?
You may have heard talk about both the “personal brand” and “professional brand”. For some there’s no difference, and they use the terms interchangeably, especially when consistent elements of your personality, character and reputation are present across both areas of life. However, they can be manifested differently, choosing which aspects from our personality and character we want to show as a professional.
For others, a personal brand follows the individual, regardless of the company they work for. It serves as a huge asset in both the job market and at a personal level, while a professional brand is an identity that's shaped by an individual's achievements and expertise in a particular field. This business brand is connected to the work they do and the clients or organisations they serve.
How To Cultivate Your Personal Brand
Envision yourself as a brand
Consider how you’d like to be perceived by your clients and colleagues. Would you like to be known as a leading authority in your field, someone who consistently achieves results, or both? Once you have a clear idea of how you want to be regarded, you can begin to focus on promoting your brand to the appropriate audience, in the most effective way and at the appropriate time.
Take care and cultivate your social media presence
Now that you have a tailored personal brand statement, you can grow your social media presence. Research yourself to see where you stand online. Are there any posts, images, videos or comments that don’t fit with your personal brand statement? Unpublish or delete them.
Take into account if you’re easy to find on search engines. Review if you have a fairly common name that can make it difficult to appear in the first page of search results. One piece of advice would be to consider using a middle name or initial together with your surname.
Remember that your name is your intellectual property, so it’s important to ensure that you are ‘discoverable’ online. Additionally, you should monitor what is being said about you by setting up Google alerts.
After all of this, you can start crafting a coherent message through the creation of a personal website where you can raise your profile as a thought leader. Setting up a blog is a great way to upload a variety of articles and whitepapers that can be linked to your social media profiles.
To maintain engagement, consistently produce original content or share relevant material, and cultivate relationships with industry experts. By networking with these thought leaders, you can broaden your professional connections.
Discover your Unique Identity
Thought leadership content will be most effective when it addresses the needs of the audience you’re engaging with, adding an extra value that will come once you discover your unique identity. In that scope, you will need to consider whether you can provide a solution to common issues or if you have a unique perspective on current events relevant to their industry or sector. This is especially relevant when it comes to Specialist Recruitment proving that you will be the right person for the perfect role.
Ensure your message has a purpose
In today's professional landscape, social networking platforms like LinkedIn provide effective ways for communicating with peers in one's field. You only need to set up a profile with a well-written resume and a suitable profile picture and you are on the right track to make the most of LinkedIn both as a job seeker and a thought leader. However, it is important to be mindful with regard to the information that is shared. Review if those Twitter status or stories you share accurately reflect the values that form the foundations of your personal brand.
Networking and collaboration
Networking is possibly the most valuable asset and, what’s more it's one that’s free. Starting from university, where some companies have a formal recruitment process and an alumni network - be sure to make the most of all the networking events and opportunities available on-campus.
To get your personal brand noticed, attending different networking events with key individuals is essential. This includes adding people on social media and engaging with influencers, colleagues from past and present, strong brands within your sector, key groups and media contacts who write about your field.
Having a well-crafted profile showcasing your skills and experience is a great starting point, but it’s crucial to put in the effort to build and maintain relationships. After all, networking is a powerful tool that can help you make a lasting impression.
Trends Shaping the Future of Personal Branding
2022 marked the 25th anniversary of personal branding, a term coined by Tom’s Fast Company when covering the story “The Brand Called You”. Last year, businesses began moving towards a more human approach, and this shift came at a time when technology was becoming increasingly prevalent in the workforce after the pandemic. Ironic as it sounds, it was perhaps a deliberate response to the growing need to counterbalance the loss of human connections in the virtual workplace.
Personal Branding will be Like Running a Business
In today’s rapidly changing world, the rise of artificial intelligence and automation, together with the growing popularity of video content, is shaping a future of personal branding through social media. Not only that, both the personal and business spheres are blurring the lines between the two, with influencers sharing their day in their corporate jobs or their side hustles, acting as ambassadors for their audience.
New forms of content such as newsletters, podcasts, Twitch streaming, YouTube, and more are becoming part of people’s personal brand across all those platforms. By sharing your expertise for free in a podcast on Anchor, writing Twitter threads, or starting a newsletter, you have the potential to gain popularity. The barrier to entry for creating content to support your personal brand has never been lower, but it also means more competition.
As a result, building your unique identity can be challenging, but once you have accomplished it and established the right connections with people from the same industry, you can expect to reap the benefits. Like in any area of life, success does not happen overnight - it takes dedication, hard work and continuous refinement.