Personal branding is a term often thrown around the corporate world referring to logos, letterheads and the likes created for an individual's commercial use rather than that of a business entity. Whether we’re career-path veterans or job seekers looking to get into the workforce, every single one of us has a personal brand whether we realise it or not. Your personal brand tells the world who you are and what you stand for. It’s time we recognise, embrace and own our personal brands. So where do we start?
It all starts with YOU.
Who are you? What are you good at? Where are you going? Where do you want to go? These are all things we need to ask ourselves to fully realise what’s central to brand YOU. Take to paper and make a list of keywords that you truly believe represents who you are now or who you want to be. If I were to make a list now I’d include the likes of honest, fair, modest, pragmatic and insight-driven to name a few. Forcing your attitudes, your values and your motivations onto paper forefronts exactly what needs to translate into the mind of peers, coworkers and both current or potential employers.
Authenticity here is key - if you’re chucking words down that don’t actually represent you, the lack of synergy ultimately negates the purpose of a personal brand. Know yourself, know your skills and start there.
Check your online presence!
In a time where we’re putting our lives on show online, your digital presence is likely the most influential place in terms of making first and lasting impressions. The first thing to do is audit your personal social channels. The content you’re posting, sharing and liking is a direct reflection on you. Take a look at the list you made - is their consistency in the keywords you highlighted and what you're posting to Facebook?
Take for example a job seeker going into an interview. The employer is going to look you up on social media and if the persona you've created in person is polar opposite to what they're seeing on your Instagram, chances are, you're not going top land the job. How you've presented yourself is going to come across as an illusion, or for the sake of this topic, 'off-brand'.