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Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success

Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success

Personal branding has been very hyped up lately, and for good reason. Many people who feel marginalized by the idea of branding themselves now understand that it is inescapable. We all exist as brands, whether we like it or not. That means you Mr. Postman and you Mr. Lawyer!

The first step to branding success is to accept that you’re a brand. Like corporate and product brands, you’re able to use the same marketing strategies to build your brand, get recognized and leverage it to either sell products, get a job or become a celebrity in your niche. There are two main reasons why individuals, like you and me, are labeled as brands.

Why Do We Have Brands?

We’re all judged based on impressions.

The first impression usually depicts whether you end up dating a girl or guy, or whether you get a job or not. Offline, just about everyone we meet will analyze us and decide whether they want to be friends or not.

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Sometimes it may be on appearance alone and other times, it could be based on a single conversation. People label us based on personality, appearance and what we actually do for a living.

Online, first impressions work quite differently because our brands are spread out on social networks, blogs and more. The first time someone “meets us” could be after searching for your name on Google, Facebook or Linkedin. Based on the first result for your name on Google, they will make a decision whether they want to talk to you or not. Based on your social media profile, you may have another contact or not. In this way, we are attracting and repelling certain types of people, without feeling the pain of rejection (one reason why people like online dating).

We’re all salespeople.

People typically don’t purchase product brands that they haven’t heard of. You won’t get opportunities from those who have never heard of your name. In the same respect, you’ll have trouble securing venture capital if you can’t sell your product (and yourself).

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At work, we have to sell our ideas to our management, in order to take on new projects and prove ourself. Even with our circle of friends, we are forced to influence them to go see a certain movie or grab a bite to eat.

We sell everyday, yet most of us don’t look at ourselves in the mirror and say “I’m in sales.”

There’re many reasons why having your personal brand benefit your career, and you can find out more in this article: What Is Personal Branding and Why Is It Important for Your Career?

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What Personal Branding Means for You

A brand is an opportunity to have meaning in your life and to stand out from everyone else around the world.

You, yes you, have unique attributes that no one else has. Some of you have discovered what you’re strengths or talents are, while others have either been afraid to reveal them or are still trying to locate them.

The idea of “brand you” (i.e. how we market ourselves to others) is a proven way to position yourself in a niche and become known. The benefits are that people will come to you for your expertise, and the jobs will follow. By investing in your personal brand, you’re able to do more, with less, especially using the power of social media, and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

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Forming Your Personal Brand

Before embarking on your personal branding journey, here are a few questions that will help you learn more about yourself, what you want to do and steer you on the right path to success:

  1. If you could do one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
  2. What was your favorite class in college?
  3. Who is your rolemodel and what makes him or her so great?
  4. Describe yourself using 5 attributes (ex. intelligent, vocal, brave)?
  5. Name 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses that you have.
  6. How have people labeled me in the past?
  7. Am I passionate about my current job/career path?

Next, take these steps: 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding

The Bottom Line

Now that you understand the importance of building your personal brand, start to develop your self-branding by understanding your own strengths and unique attributes first.

More Tips About Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

More by this author

Dan Schawbel

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

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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