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5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

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5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

    Most people don’t take the time to discover their own personal brand. I believe the reason for this is because of the very many influences we have on our lives, from our parents, to our teachers to our managers and even our friends.  I have many friends who are instructed to become lawyers, doctors and accountants by their parent who is already in that field and wants to mold their child in their shape.

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    When you choose someone else’s career path, it can have a negative impact on your work and life.  Also, most people don’t take time out of their day to think about who they are and what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  Instead, they become so overwhelmed in the moment or are so focused on climbing a corporate ladder, that they aren’t true to themselves and, as a result, get lost.  Creating a personal brand is the easiest part of the personal branding process because social media tools are free and marketing documents are easy to make, even if you aren’t a technical expert or graphic designer.  People, as well as companies, don’t invest the time in figuring out the right branding strategy before they start using these tools, so they don’t obtain the desired output.
    In order to help you in your personal brand development, I’ve laid out five critical things you need to focus on before creating your personal brand.  They will help you with your brand positioning, as well as make you think about where you’re going (your destination), so you’ll be able to reach your goals and have the results that you desire.  I know it might seem like tedious work, but when you can communicate what you do to the right audience, you’ll be much more successful in the long-term.

    1.  Brainstorm a mission and a vision statement

      A mission and a vision statement are much different.  Your mission is what you do everyday, while your vision is your future.  To create a mission statement, you should think about what you do and why you do it.  Your mission should be simple and clear and only one sentence long.  It should touch upon your behaviors, traits and values.  For your vision statement, imagine yourself at least ten years in the future.  What will you be doing then and why?  What are you looking to give back to the world?  Both of these statements can be stored privately or publicly displayed on your website, just like a company would.

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      2.  Identify your personal brand statement

      Aside from your name and picture, your personal brand statement is the third most important asset you have on the web that helps identify you.  Your name is your online ID, while your picture is what people remember you by and experience and your personal brand statement is how you position yourself in the minds of others.  Your statement should tell everyone what you do and who you serve.  It forces you to take a niche, instead of trying to own a topic that is already full of competition.  In this way, people will get to know you and go to you for the services that you offer, instead of anyone else.

      3.  Give yourself a slogan

      Few people have their own slogan, but almost all companies swear by them.  Nike uses “just do it.”  Apple uses “think different.”  BMW uses “the ultimate driving machine.”  A slogan can get people excited about your personal brand in the same respect.  Think about how you want others to connect with you. Think of a catchy phrase to describe other peoples experience with you and then use it for your online logo or near your picture.  It can be funny or serious, but it needs to be effective and original to be remembered.

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      4.  Figure out your brand attributes

      Let’s say you’re in an interview and you get asked the question “how do you describe yourself?”  What would you say?  There are so many different words out there that you can use to describe yourself.  For instance, you can say you’re cunning, daring, intelligent, outgoing, stubborn, etc.  Other people may describe you in the same respect.  You really want what people say about you to equal how you describe yourself.  Think about your own brand attributes and write them down right now.

      5.  Discover your audience

      Finding your audience is really important because they are the people that will pay attention to your work and spread your ideas.  If you’re selling yourself to the wrong audience, they will dismiss you and it will be a waste of time.  You really need to figure out what companies or customers would be interested in what you have to offer because you can’t appeal to anyone.  Your audience should be a niche group of people and you should give them as much value as you can over time.

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      Dan Schawbel

      Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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      Last Updated on August 25, 2021

      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

      As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

      Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

      According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

      “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

      A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

      What Is Your Personal Brand?

      “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

      Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

      Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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      I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

      A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

      Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

      Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

      Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

      In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

      According to Castrillon,[2]

      “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

      The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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      As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

      In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

      “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

      When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

      The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

      Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

      The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

      5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

      These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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      1. Set Your Personal Goals

      What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

      2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

      Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

      1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
      2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
      3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
      4. What makes you different from others like you?

      The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

      3. Write Your Professional Story

      Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

      4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

      Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

      5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

      A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

      The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

      Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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      As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

      Other People’s Stories

      Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

      Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

      Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

      “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

      So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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