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4 Steps to Personal Branding Success

4 Steps to Personal Branding Success

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    In light of my new book,

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    internationally today, I want to share the main process used in the book that will help you build a powerful brand.  Personal branding helps you stay very productive because you can focus on projects you enjoy and have a sense of purpose and passion behind them.  It’s really hard to be productive, without truly loving what you’re doing, because motivation is so critical to achieving maximum results.  There are many other benefits for personal brands, such as the ability to demand a premium price, just like Donald Trump has done with the ties and steaks that wear his name.  Also, you gain greater visibility and acknowledgment for your work and opportunities that your peers won’t be able to maintain.  The four step process (DCCM) I’ve developed over two years ago walks you through self-discovery, all the way to maintaining your brand as it grows.  Today, I’m going to briefly walk you through each, so you have a better idea of where you stand and what you need to do to find your passion, monetize it and lead a happy life.

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    Discover

      In order to really understand who you are and carve out a career path moving forward, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you will be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others. Start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”  Also, when discovering your brand, you’ll want to lay out a development plan for yourself, that includes your current situation and your goals broken down in intervals, from one year to twenty years in the future.  It’s extremely important to have a destination in your head and on paper before proceeding to create your brand in step two.  The most successful individuals will be able to merge their passion with expertise, so that they have the fuel needed to push through adversity, and the skills required to solve customers problems.  Also, selecting an unsaturated niche that you can claim during this stage is significant for positioning your brand as unique.

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      Create

        Creating your personal brand is all about forming marketing materials that position you as extraordinary in your niche.  When I was at college, I used to bring a resume, cover letter, CD portfolio, references document, and business card with me to interviews.  I even had my own promotional website.  With the rise of web 2.0 and all of these social media tools, we can get far more creative these days.  For instance, now you can create a blog, or a video resume on YouTube or a LinkedIn profile to separate yourself from the other individuals applying for the same jobs as you.  The point of creating your brand is to have several materials online and offline that can help sell you.  They are all used as talking points that can get a conversation started between you and your audience.  Online, they tell your audience more about what you do, what you offer and the benefits of working with you.  Offline, they are used in situations where people need a visual display of your brand.

        Communicate

          Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist.  The communication stage is focused on allowing you to gain the necessary visibility to be recruited based on your passion or what people readily see online.  The are many direct and indirect methods of attaining this visibility, such as commenting on blogs or attending in-person networking events in your industry.  You can even do some freelance writing for magazines, newspapers, online websites and blogs to get your name out there.  When it comes to your own blog, if you build it, they won’t come.  You have to find way to attract your audience, which could mean joining forums, interviewing experts, starting a newsletter, networking with people in your industry and much more.  In this step, you’ll want to put on your “personal PR” hat and leverage your materials to pitch the press, which includes bloggers and traditional journalists now.

          Maintain

            As you grow, mature, and accelerate in your career, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current “brand you.” It’s very easy to be careless with your online brand, leaving your websites months or even years old or your LinkedIn profile positioning you as an intern, instead of a marketing manager.  Going back to everything you created and updating it with fresh information is critical.  Also, you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. Brand maintenance also captures reputation management, where you have to own your Google results by ensuring that you have the right social networking profiles setup and monetized, as well as enough content created or press mentions to own the top ten results for your name in Google.

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            Last Updated on April 17, 2019

            10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

            10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

            What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

            Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

            They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

            1. Communication Skills

            Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

            To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

            Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

            Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

            After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

            2. Flexibility

            Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

            Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

            Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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            Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

            3. Being a Team Player

            Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

            What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

            This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

            Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

            4. Positive Mental Attitude

            There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

            Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

            Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

            It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

            Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

            5. A Strong Work Ethic

            People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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            If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

            Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

            • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
            • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
            • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
            • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

            For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

            6. Public Speaking

            Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

            Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

            If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

            For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

            Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

            7. Integrity

            From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

            • Always doing what you say you will do
            • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

            …even when no one is around to check up on you.

            There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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            Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

            8. Managing Your Time

            Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

            A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

            Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

            Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

            These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

            9. Assertiveness

            In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

            • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
            • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
            • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
            • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

            Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

            How do you use this information for yourself?

            It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

            Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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            How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

            10. Creative Thinking

            LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

            Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

            How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

            Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

            These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

            You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

            What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

            Final Thoughts

            The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

            So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

            The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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            Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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